Home / Kids Health / Cause, Symptoms and Treatment of Diphtheria

Cause, Symptoms and Treatment of Diphtheria

Nithya Lakshmi | October 17, 2018

Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that mostly occurs in the nose and the throat. This infection occurs mostly in children and is most widely seen in countries where parents fail to take the relevant measures to avoid it through vaccination. Diphtheria is no more a matter of concern to the people in the West. Thanks to the vaccines that are available through various laboratory tests that serve as an immuniser.

What are the main causes of Diphtheria?

The main cause of diphtheria is by a bacterium named corynebacterium diphtheria. This is highly contagious and it spreads from one infected person to another. This might also attack you from objects when you touch them. The complications of such infection when left untreated may lead to: 

  • Nerve damage
  • Bloodstream inhibition
  • Heart failure
  • Kidney disease
  • Paralysis
  • Brain damage


How do you recognize Diphtheria?

Symptoms of diphtheria include a dark grey like coating on your tongue, throat, and nose. It releases a lot of toxins in your entire bloodstream. At times the pseudomembrane turns greenish, black or blue depending on the severity. Though diphtheria is a case of throat infection, it might also attack your skin which is a rare case.

An infected person might suffer from: 

  • Weakness
  • Fever
  • Speeding heart rate
  • Bulging neck
  • Discharge from the nose and throat
  • A sore throat
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Children might face vomiting issues along with fever and chills when they are attacked by diphtheria bacteria.


How to Treat this fatal Bacterial Infection?

Basically, your doctor will diagnose you with the symptoms of diphtheria. If there seems a grey like matter in your throat or tonsils, further analysis and study might be conducted with the help of the laboratory.

Once confirmed of this bacterial infection, you will be injected with an antitoxin injection. Treating this infection has to be aggressive in order to remove the toxins in your bloodstream to avoid further complications. You have to refrain from being in contact with others so you don’t spread the infection.

Further, your doctor might proceed with a series of vaccinations, looking at your body’s response. You will also be asked to follow certain antibiotics.


How to Prevent such an Infection from Occurring?

While children catch flu and end up with fever very frequently due to a weaker immune system and ignorance, adults aren’t anywhere farther than such a scenario. Vaccination provides a way out for such an infection. Babies need to be vaccinated after 6 weeks of age followed by two booster doses 4 weeks apart and then a dose after 4 to 6 years. For children, it is given in five shots. For adults, the tetanus booster vaccine is given in one go to prevent it from occurring in the future.

Image Source: Air Force, Wikipedia

Nithya Lakshmi


Kids Health


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *