What it is
Diphtheria is a bacterial illness that has been known to affect children since the early fourth century BC. The bacteria multiply and produce a powerful toxin that rapidly causes tissue death. In some cases, the toxin may spread throughout the body in the blood vessels or the lymph system. Worst part is, it is highly contagious.
The symptoms of diphtheria depend on where the bacteria entered and whether the toxin has made it into the blood stream.
- Symptoms begin as common cold.
- The nasal discharge will then turn into a foul-smelling pus that can erode the skin of the nose and upper lip.
Back of the throat
- For the first day or two, it seems like a normal sore throat, with a low-grade fever. Treatment at this stage would be effective would be effective.
- A thick, whitish or grayish membrane appears in the back of the throat, covering the tonsils, the roof of the mouth and the sides of the throat.
- There is a severe form of croup.
- The cough is terrible.
- Blisters are present and may turn into painful open sores.
Ways to prevent/treat
- The diphtheria vaccine is very successful in preventing diphtheria. The vaccine is against the toxin so fully immunized children may get or carry the bacteria but the risk of illness is minimal.
- Diphtheria requires immediate medical attention.
- Antitoxins and antibiotics should be given immediately upon advice of a physician.
- Skin lesions need to be thoroughly cleaned.
- Bed rest for two to three weeks is strictly recommended for those with diphtheria. Heart monitoring several times a week.
See the doctor if:
- Your child exhibits any signs or symptoms of the disease.