Medical Encyclopedia

Diphtheria

What is diphtheria?

Diphtheria is an acute infectious disease, which is caused by Corynebacterium. The disease begins with a grayish-white, smooth coating covering palatal shackle and pharynx. Children are at the greatest degree of diphtheria. In our country, the disease is relatively rare, since almost all children get immunizations. Vaccinations do not guarantee absolute protection against disease, but much easier for her. With the increase of people who are not vaccinated against diphtheria, the higher the risk of spreading the disease. At great danger to life diphtheria is produced by bacteria toxins – substances, which quickly enter into the blood and can cause intoxication of the whole organism.

Symptoms of diphtheria

  • Nasal discharge with blood.
  • Yellowish-white fibrinous plaque.
  • Sweet, putrid breath.

Causes of diphtheria

Transfer of bacteria that cause diphtheria, is airborne. Usually atrium is the nose and throat, at least - the larynx, connecting the eyes, stomach and small wounds on the skin. Risk to life is not only the disease, but the toxin which is secreted by pathogens. This toxin contributes to the formation of plaque, the destruction of mucosal lesions of the heart, liver, kidneys, adrenal glands and nerves.

Treatment of diphtheria

Diphtheria

First of all the patient is pricked with diphtheria serum - a substance that neutralizes bacteria; antibiotics are prescribed. Diphtheria is particularly sensitive to penicillin, so the patient is treated with high doses of penicillin and macrolides. Sometimes patients heal quickly.

Uncomplicated cases

Further treatment depends on the disease. It may be very different. With the defeat of the nasal mucosa only symptoms usually disappear within a few days. As a general rule, with the defeat of the skin, navel or connective membrane of the eye sufficiently infected places are lubricated with ointment. Diphtheria of the tonsils (tonsillitis diphtheria), in which the patient has a sore throat and difficulty swallowing, is relatively easy to be cured.

Complicated cases

However, if the disease affects the throat or larynx, the patient needs more intensive treatment, because with the spread of infection production of the toxin increases. Under the action of the toxin paralysis of the muscles of the pharynx can occur, in severe cases - even paralysis of the legs or severe damage to the heart muscle, which can lead to heart failure. In addition, there is a significant swelling of the mucous membranes and lymph nodes, causing respiratory failure, which can lead to suffocation. In this case the patient needs ventilation through an endotracheal tube.

The main thing - to instill children against diphtheria. Immunizations in many countries are made to all children on a special calendar.

When should you see a doctor? The severity of the disease depends on the amount of toxin ingested. The earlier treatment is started - the less serious the consequences of the disease. Therefore, when an infection of the nose, mouth, throat, belly button, eye, wound, you should see a doctor.

The doctor will swab in order to more accurately determine the causative agent. Patient suffering from diphtheria, should immediately be hospitalized to an infectious diseases hospital.

Course of the disease

Even with the right of the treatment the disease can last for several weeks - so much time is necessary for the patient to completely get rid of the effects of intoxication and was able to get out of bed.

Immunization against diphtheria saves lives

Parents should make sure that their child has been vaccinated against diphtheria. The first time a child is vaccinated at 3-4 months of age, again - at the age of 2-6 years

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