Diphtheria is a serious bacterial infection that affects the mucous membranes of the throat and nose.Although it spreads easily from one person to another, diphtheria can be prevented through the use of vaccines. If it is left untreated, it can cause severe damage to your kidneys, nervous system and heart.Even with treatment,diphtheria can be deadly, especially in children.
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
• Swelling of soft tissue in the neck, giving a ‘ bull neck’ appearance
• Difficulty swallowing
• Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing
• Nasal discharge
• Fever and chills
In some people, infection with diphtheria- causing bacteria causes only a mild illness- or no obvious signs and symptoms at all.Infected people who remain unaware of their illness are known as carriers of diphtheria, because they can spread the infection without being sick themselves.
A second type of diphtheria can affect the skin, causing pain, redness and swelling similar to other bacterial skin infections. Ulcers covered by a gray membrane also may be skin diphtheria.
A type of bacteria called Corynebacterium diphtheriae causes diphtheria. The condition is typically spread through person-to-person contact or through contact with objects that have the bacteria on them, such as a cup or used tissue. You may also get diphtheria if you are around an infected person when they sneeze, cough or blow their nose.
Even if an infected person doesn’t show any signs or symptoms of diphtheria, they are still able to transmit the bacterial infection for up to six weeks after the initial infection.
The bacteria most commonly infect your nose and throat. Once you are infected, the bacteria release dangerous substances called toxins. The toxins spread through your bloodstream and often cause a thick, gray coating to form in these areas of the body –
In some cases, these toxins can also damage other organs, including the heart, brain and kidneys that can be life threatening.
People are also at an increased risk of contracting diphtheria if they-
• are not up to date on their vaccinations
• visit a country that does not provide immunizations
• have an immune system disorder, such as AIDS
• live in unsanitary or crowded conditions
If left untreated, diphtheria can lead to-
• Breathing problems
• Heart damage due to myocarditis
• Nerve damage
Diphtheria is preventable with the use of antibiotics and vaccines.
The vaccine for diphtheria is called DTaP. It is usually given in a single shot along with vaccines for pertusis and tetanus. The DTaP vaccine is administered in a series of five shots.It is given to children at the following ages –
• 2 months
• 4 months
• 6 months
• 15 to 18 months
• 4 to 6 years
Vaccines only last for 10 years, so your child will need to be vaccinated around age 12.
Doctor 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.
Diphtheria in a serious illness. Doctors treat it immediately and aggressively.Treatments include –
Antibiotics, such as penicillin or erythromycin, help kill bacteria in the body, clearing up infections.
• An antitoxin –
If a doctor suspects diphtheria, he or she will request a medication that counteracts the diphtheria toxin in the body from the centers for disease control and prevention, called an antitoxin, this drug is injected into a vein or muscle.
According to Ayurveda texts diphtheria can be correlated with Rohini. It occurs due to vitiated Kapha.
• Castor leaves-
• Pineapple –
• Drumstick leaves-
• Passion flower-
• Kasturi Bhairav Ras
• Shringa Bhasma
• Shuddha Tankan
• Kanchnar Gugglu
• Maha laxmivilas Ras
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