Diphtheria is a serious bacterial infection usually affecting the mucous membranes of your nose and throat.
Diphtheria signs and symptoms usually begin two to five days after a person becomes infected and may include:
• A thick, gray membrane covering your throat and tonsils
• A sore throat and hoarseness
• Swollen glands (enlarged lymph nodes) in your neck
• Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing
• Nasal discharge
• Fever and chills
Skin (cutaneous) diphtheria
A second type of diphtheria can affect the skin, causing the
• Typical pain
• Redness and swelling associated with other bacterial skin infections.
• Ulcers covered by a gray membrane also may develop in cutaneous diphtheria.
• Doctors may suspect diphtheria in a sick child who has a sore throat with a gray membrane covering the tonsils and throat.
• Growth of C. diphtheriae in a laboratory culture of material from the throat membrane pins down the diagnosis.
• Doctors can also take a sample of tissue from an infected wound and have it tested in a laboratory to check for the type of diphtheria that affects the skin (cutaneous diphtheria).
Diphtheria is a serious illness. Doctors treat it immediately and aggressively with these medications:
• An antitoxin. If doctors suspect diphtheria, the infected child or adult receives an antitoxin. The antitoxin, injected into a vein or muscle, neutralizes the diphtheria toxin already circulating in the body.
• Antibiotics. Diphtheria is also treated with antibiotics.
If you've been exposed to a person infected with diphtheria, visit a doctor at Aadil Hospital for testing and possible treatment. Doctor may give you a prescription for antibiotics to help prevent you from developing the disease. You may also need a booster dose of the diphtheria vaccine.