Diphtheria Overview: What is Diphtheria?
Diphtheria is an infectious disease caused by a bacterial toxin. It is potentially fatal and is one of the vaccine-preventable diseases. Diphtheria is spread mainly through skin contact or airborne droplets from coughing, sneezing and speaking. It can affect the airways, heart, and skin. Its symptoms may include swollen glands, sore throat, fever, and a gray coating on the tonsils or throat.
Who Is Most Vulnerable to Diphtheria?
Diphtheria can affect people of all ages, including infants, children and adults. People who are generally more vulnerable include those who have not been vaccinated, overcrowding, and poor hygiene. People who live in areas of poverty and in developing countries are more likely to be infected.
Diagnosing and Treating Diphtheria
If you suspect that you or someone else in your family may have diphtheria, the first step is to see a doctor who can accurately diagnose it. To diagnose diphtheria, a doctor may take a swab sample from the throat, nose, or skin in the affected area and then test it for the bacteria.
Once a diagnosis has been made, it is important to receive proper treatment promptly. Treatment for diphtheria includes antibiotics and a diphtheria antitoxin. In severe cases, hospitalization may be required.
How to Prevent Diphtheria
The main way to prevent diphtheria is by immunization. Vaccination is recommended for infants and children, as well as adults who have not received the vaccine. It is also important to practice good personal hygiene, such as regularly washing your hands, covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing, and avoiding close contact with those who are infected.
Diphtheria is a potentially fatal infectious disease that affects people of all ages. The best way to protect yourself and your family is to get vaccinated and practice good hygiene. If you suspect that you or someone else in your family has diphtheria, seek medical attention promptly.