Home > Throat Infections > Diphtheria and the Throat

Diphtheria and the Throat

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 21 Dec 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Diphtheria Throat Breathing Infection

Diphtheria is an acute infection of the upper airway. It is highly contagious and must be treated before the symptoms are permitted to escalate which can have a very negative impact on life.It is most commonly passed to others through sneezing, coughing or through contact with mucous; it can also be contracted through skin contact as well though this is less common.

What Causes Diphtheria?

Although most people may have heard of diphtheria and know that it used to be a very common illness in the past, they do not know much about it.

It is actually caused by the diphtheria bacterium and other toxins that attack the respiratory system, gradually causing severe respiratory distress and can easily cause death if left untreated.

The bacteria enter the system and grow quite happily among the tissues of the throat which provide a perfect environment as they are dark, moist and warm. As the bacteria multiply, they emit a dangerous toxin that is very hazardous to health as it destroys healthy membranes and replaces them with a covering which can eventually come loose and prevent inhalation and exhalation causing death. Along with this the toxins can be absorbed into the body causing irreparable damage to the cardiac tissues and parts of the nervous system.

Signs And Symptoms

The first stage of diphtheria can cause a sore throat and inflammation of the throat tissues. Along with this discomfort comes along with a cough and head cold often with an increase in temperature.

As the disease progresses people find it increasingly difficult to breathe.If left untreated victims of diphtheria can eventually die of lack of oxygen due to a film of membrane that grows over the opening to the airway at the back of the throat. This sheath usually spreads from around the tonsil site of one side to the tonsil on the other side.

If the bacterial toxins affect the skin, small crusty scabs can form that can grow to be quite large and quite deep affecting the deeper layers of tissues.

Treating Diphtheria

In order to make a complete recovery, diphtheria should be treated as a matter of urgency and will often force medical personnel to act because of a hunch or suspicion not waiting until an official diagnosis has been made using blood tests and swabs.Anti-biotic treatment is essential along with receiving specially developed medication that counteracts the toxic effect of the diphtheria bacteria.

If you have any problem with breathing, specialist breathing apparatus may be used to assist breathing until the medications have had time to work.

Anyone with suspected diphtheria should inform staff of anyone they have had contact with in the past five days as it can spread so easily and quickly in those who have not been vaccinated.

Preventing Diphtheria

As diphtheria caused so many deaths and illness in the past, it is recommended that everyone is vaccinated against the disease in order to protect themselves.

The vaccination involves injecting a very small amount of the disease into a person whose own immunity responds to the tiny dose and creates its own antibodies to the disease should it ever come into contact with it again.

The vaccination programme has worked very well and the incidence of the illness has dropped to virtually none in the Western world.

Diphtheria has been responsible for many epidemics and deaths in the years gone by, but now thanks to vaccination programmes the disease is very rare.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
@Ill bitc - if you have acid reflux, then you should not eat or drink any acidic foods which makes this worse. Citurs fruits, grapes, wine, apples, are all acidic, you can look on the GERD website to find out what these foods are. It may take time, but it should clear your problems. Otherwise, if it doesn't alongside taking proton pump inhibitors - your doc should send you for tests.
CareyB - 21-Dec-17 @ 12:45 PM
I have very bad acid reflux and COLD . For about 4 years my voice has gotten very horase. It's non stop and people cannot understand me .Any suggestions?
Ill bit - 21-Dec-17 @ 12:08 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Mr.Problem Child
    Re: Ulcers In The Throat
    Hey, I was having Typhoid, and during it's treatment, I was diagnosed with Throat Ulcer too. My doctor has told me that the medications used…
    19 April 2018
  • Meeta Patel
    Re: Ulcers In The Throat
    Ulcer in throat not to eat any food plz give me tablet name or liquid.
    14 April 2018
  • lyns
    Re: What is Quinsy?
    I have tonisiis now and all I can teast is the infection and it's making really tired
    6 April 2018
  • Bimz
    Re: Can You Still Get Quinsy?
    Hi I recently had a quinsy first time I’ve ever caught it and I’m 27 and I’ve never had tonsillitis ether i started off with a really…
    27 March 2018
  • Callihistorian
    Re: Ulcers In The Throat
    Hey @AbbaGF, I saw a Doctor yesterday but at the time I didn't feel the pull in the neck indicating a possible throat ulcer. He could see…
    9 March 2018
  • AbbaGF
    Re: Ulcers In The Throat
    @Callihistorian - poor you - I feel for you :(. If it doesn't clear up go to your docs. But I had an ulcer after a sore throat. If you think…
    9 March 2018
  • Callihistorian
    Re: Ulcers In The Throat
    Is it possible to get a throat ulcer straight after having a sore throat from flu? I've been suffering 2 weeks now, the first week was from…
    9 March 2018
  • mary
    Re: Can Shouting Damage the Vocal Cords?
    Shouted at my daughter about 4 months ago and felt my voice pop.I love singing and can manage to hit very high…
    3 March 2018
  • Lauren
    Re: Losing Your Voice
    Whenever I get a cold I lose my voice. This seems to happen every couple of months. I had the flu jab and didn't lose my voice for a whole year!…
    16 February 2018
  • Monty
    Re: What Are Throat Polyps?
    I believe I have a throat polyp. I noticed a few weeks ago and thought maybe it was denture glue build up, because it was just dangling(I…
    12 February 2018
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the ThroatProblems website. Please read our Disclaimer.