Diphtheria - a dangerous disease of infectious nature, the causative agent of which is the bacterium diphtheria bacillus. With this disease, the mucous membrane of the nose, mouth, larynx and trachea is mainly affected. In severe forms, pathological changes develop in other organs and toxic poisoning of the whole organism. In the distant past, diphtheria was a fatal disease, but now it is effectively treated and prevented by immunization.
Diphtheria in children: the main symptoms
Diphtheria is considered to be primarily a childhood disease. A characteristic feature is the formation of grayish-white films on the back of the throat. This is quite dangerous because the films can stick together and completely block the airways, resulting in suffocation and death. The main symptoms, both in children and adults, will be the appearance of sores in the throat, fever, nausea, headaches, swollen lymph nodes. The duration of the incubation period is approximately 2-10 days.
There are several types of disease development:
- Diphtheria in the oral cavity develops most frequently. On the tonsils, raids are formed, and then thick films, the pharynx during the inspection is red, inflamed and swollen, and severe pain may be felt when swallowing. Body temperature rises, sometimes to very high numbers. After some time, the infection spreads, and the films can already be found on the tongue and the arms of the soft palate, and dirty white films of plaque are observed against the background of the swollen and red mucous membranes.
- These films spread from the tonsils to the soft and hard palate. It is rather difficult to remove plaque from the mucous membrane; they are very dense. The body temperature in a child with diphtheria can reach 39-40 degrees. The patient will feel weakness and apathy, possible vomiting and abdominal pain. Sometimes there is swelling of the subcutaneous tissue of the neck.
- Larynx diphtheria is also called true croup. In recent years, it is much less common than diphtheria pharynx. When this form of inflammation captures the mucous membrane of the trachea and larynx. The disease is fast. Stage 1 lasts from 1 to 2 days and is characterized by hoarseness, fever. Cough can be strong, barking, but quickly loses its sonority. In stage 2, when examining a sick child, noisy breathing is heard, while inhaling the tension of the respiratory muscles. At stage 3, there is already a lack of oxygen, the skin turns blue, the patient becomes restless, shortness of breath, and severe sweating appear. If at this stage medical care is not provided in time, the child may die as a result of asphyxiation.
- Complications of diphtheria can be toxic shock, myocarditis is a severe pathology of the heart muscle, neuritis of peripheral nerve fibers. Some of these complications can lead to disabilities and severe chronic diseases.
How does an adult ailment manifest itself?
In past years, diphtheria was mainly diagnosed in children, and the incidence rate was quite high. In adults, this pathology was very rare. For many years, prevention of diphtheria was performed by routine vaccination in childhood, and the incidence rate was reduced. For many years only isolated cases of diphtheria were identified. But recently, doctors have noted frequent outbreaks of illness in adults. The average age of patients with diphtheria is 18–40 years old, but there have been cases of infection at an older age of 50–60 years. The symptoms of the disease in adults are almost the same as in children, but there are still some peculiarities.
In adults, the disease begins with an increase in body temperature to 38-38.5 degrees. The mucous membrane of the throat becomes red, smooth whitish patches are formed on it, which over time will be converted into dense films of a grayish-white shade. If you remove such a film, under it forms a bleeding sore. In severe cases, the films cover the surface of the tonsils and the mucous membrane of the pharynx completely.
The tissues of the oropharynx look puffy and become bright red in color. The tonsils may be so swollen that they close together. Despite all the signs of severe inflammation of pain, a person usually does not feel.
With such a disease with intoxication, there are always signs of general malaise. This is especially pronounced in the toxic form of diphtheria. The patient complains of great weakness and fatigue, he becomes irritable and apathetic. The skin is usually very pale. Headaches, vomiting and nausea are observed, arterial pressure can be greatly reduced, the pulse becomes uneven. Lymph nodes located on the neck significantly increase in size and can be easily felt through the skin, the neck may look puffy. Diphtheria larynx in adults is more common than other forms. The voice becomes hoarse, a very loud and strong barking cough appears. Body temperature is not always high, in most cases it is low-grade, up to 37.5 degrees. Difficult breathing, heavy and stifled, wheezing is heard. Laryngitis may join the disease. When breathing noticeable tension of the respiratory muscles, the wings of the nose swell.
Sometimes adults may not have membranous formations with diphtheria. Almost always, the disease in adulthood is much more difficult than in childhood. Complicating the situation and the fact that an adult is very difficult to identify the disease at the initial stage. Symptomatology is most often mild and uncharacteristic for diphtheria, the disease occurs in a blurred, blurred form.
Features of treatment
In case of diphtheria, the patient is necessarily sent to the hospital for treatment. The main stage of therapy is the introduction of anti-diphtheria serum. This should be done as early as possible. If the disease proceeds in a mild form, 1 injection is sufficient; in case of a severe course, the drug is administered for several days in a row.
The patient needs peace and fresh air. Light sedatives are prescribed to improve sleep and relieve irritability. To get rid of the inflammatory process in the larynx prescribe glucocorticoids. And for the prevention of complications, the use of antibacterial drugs is indicated. Antibacterial therapy is especially successful in the early stage of the disease. People who have suffered diphtheria for a long time acquire a strong immunity against the pathogen. The diphtheria vaccine provides immune protection against diphtheria sticks after administration.
Drugs that are most often prescribed for diphtheria:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs: Prednisolone, Dexamethasone.
- Antibacterial drugs: Rifampicin, Gentamicin, Tetracycline, Ceftriaxone.
- Reducing temperature and pain: Aspirin, Paracetamol, Baralgin, Analgin.
- Means to improve the patency of the bronchi: Theophylline, Bronholitin.
- Vitamin preparations.
- In combination with traditional medicine, you can use the popular methods of treatment of diphtheria.
- It is recommended that smears and sore tonsils be smeared with freshly squeezed cranberry juice many times a day.
Gargling and drinking warm juices can also help relieve the unpleasant manifestations of diphtheria. 1 tbsp. Warm up the juice of lingonberries, cranberries or lemon and drink slowly in small sips. Slightly heated juices will also be suitable for rinsing. Every 30 minutes you need to warm up 1 tbsp. any of the above juices or their mixture and rinse the throat and mouth well.
After squeezing the juice, do not throw out the cake, you can make an infusion for compresses from it. In the cake, pour 30-50 ml of alcohol or vodka, mix well and put on the throat. You can simply rub the skin with tincture, apply a layer of gauze, and then cotton wool and films. Cover with a scarf on top and keep for some time. And you can also moisten gauze or a clean cloth in the infusion and put it on the throat.
Places with films and raids are recommended to lubricate the infusion from the root of the pink radiola for 2-3 per day. This tincture can be purchased at the pharmacy.
An infusion of eucalyptus leaves also helps with diphtheria. It should also be used as an alcoholic extract from rhodiola.
Diphtheria is a dangerous disease, both for children and adults, it needs hospital treatment. If you find the first symptoms in yourself or your loved ones, contact a doctor immediately. Late diagnosis and treatment can lead to dangerous complications and even death.