Diphtheria has been a major epidemic from the olden times itself and has caused the death of many infants and old people. It is generally transmitted airborne. It has many serious complications and can even cause the patient’s death. So if a patient is diagnosed with diphtheria treatment must be given immediately. The symptoms of diphtheria can be used to identify the disease. Even though diagnosis for diphtheria is available, for common people the symptoms of diphtheria can help in its identification.
After the bacterial infection the symptoms will start within two to five days. The two to five days is the incubation period of the virus. The symptoms of diphtheria are many and they include the following.
1) sore throat
Sore throat is common symptom of diphtheria. Sore throat is any damages caused in the throat which can be due to any virus or due to any mechanical causes. This can be easily treated at home. Sore throat has certain symptoms like scratchy feeling at the back of the throat; mostly swallowing food will induce pain, the lymph nodes will become swollen etc.
Fever, another symptom of diphtheria can be termed as a variation in the body temperature especially the rising of body temperature. If the patient’s body temperature has risen above 104 degree Fahrenheit, then the patient is having significant fever. A person having diphtheria will have high fever. Mostly fever is a body mechanism to increase the fighting capability of the body against viruses and bacteria. Many drugs are present for treatment of fever. The fever in a person infected with diphtheria is induced by the body itself to fight the bacterium responsible for it with the body’s immunity.
It is abnormality in the voice and is caused by irritation or vocal chord injury. The diphtheria being an upper respiratory infection causes inflammation of the vocal chord and results in hoarseness. Gargling with warm salt water is an effective home treatment for hoarseness.
4) difficulty in breathing
A person with diphtheria will have difficulty in breathing. Due to the infection and damages caused in the upper respiratory system the breathing process will become difficult. Breathing difficulty is a common symptom of diphtheria and is found in all patients of diphtheria.
Many other symptoms like malaise and difficulty in swallowing re present. With the progression of the disease a gray lining is developed on the tonsil lining tissues. Those infected with severe diphtheria will have a swollen neck and their lymph nodes will get enlarged. The membrane formed at the tonsils can extend to the trachea and can cause death due to suffocation. With the increase in the amount of diphtheria toxin the symptoms of diphtheria can become severe complications. The heart affects inflammation and results in abnormal heart rate. Vision problems and softening of muscles are the other severe symptoms of diphtheria. Skin ulcer covered with grey –brown membrane is the symptom of cutaneous diphtheria.
The symptoms of diphtheria can be both severe as well as curable. The proper identification of the stage of diphtheria from the symptoms of diphtheria can save a life. The diagnosis of diphtheria can be easily done by culturing the tissues taken from the areas of infection. Vaccination for diphtheria is available and vaccinating properly at the prescribed ages will protect a person from the bacteria causing diphtheria. Since diphtheria can turn fatal to infants and old age people identification and treatment is essential.