Diphtheria is a serious bacterial disease which causes inflammation of the mucous membranes and formation of a false membrane in the throat which hinders breathing and swallowing, which is spread by get in touch with or breathing the aerosolized secretions of infected patients. It can also affect the skin (cutaneous diphtheria) and lining tissues in the ear, eye, and the genital areas of the body.
Diphtheria is caused by bacteria named corynebacterium, which can spread through your bloodstream to other organs, such as the heart, and cause significant damage. It also can spread through respiratory droplets such as cough or sneeze of an effected person or someone who carries the bacteria or by the use of contaminated foods or objects such as milk.
Diphtheria symptoms usually occur from two to five days after individuals have contact with the bacteria. The bacteria mostly infect the throat and nose. There are a lot many symptoms of diphtheria such as bluish coloration of the skin, breathing problems, bloody or watery drainage from nose, difficulty breathing or rapid breathing, stridor, chills and fever.
Some more symptoms of the disorder are cough, drooling, hoarseness, painful swallowing, and sore throat or skin lesions. Fatigue and foul smelling bloodstained nasal discharge are also the symptoms of diphtheria. Some other symptoms are cardiac arrhythmias, cranial and peripheral nerve palsies and myocarditis. Slurred speech and complain of double vision is also a sign of diphtheria.
Diphtheria treatment should be started immediately because the recovery of this disease is slow. The infection is treated with antibiotics, such as penicillin and erythromycin, but the patient of this disease needs to stay in hospital. Doctors suggest heart monitoring, oxygen, insertion of a breathing tube, correction of airway blockages and complete bed rest. Metronidazole, erythromycin and procaine penicillin G are also useful agents for the patients of diphtheria.
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