A quite serious bacterial infection, diphtheria is caused by the Corynebacterium diphtheria. It usually tends to affect the throat and the mouth of an affected person, although there are other varieties which can infect your skin as well. However, the most common cases of diphtheria affect the throat and the mouth.
Symptoms of diphtheria in general
It may take up to five days for symptoms to show up when you are infected with the disease. Some of the symptoms would be:
- You neck would swell up due to swelling in the lymph nodes, especially in the neck
- Your throat and tonsils will develop a thick grayish membrane
- Your throat may become sore and hoarse
- You may face difficulty in breathing, depending on the size of the membrane and the resultant inflammation
- You may have difficulty swallowing as well
These are the primary symptoms which will affect your throat in general. Some of the other symptoms that may show up are:
- Nasal discharge
- Malaise or a general feeling of discomfort
The parts of your body, which are affected the most tend to be your throat, tongue and the neck. The pain tends to persist for quite some time as you recover.
Causes of diphtheria
Diphtheria is usually spread by the following methods
- Airborne droplets: This is possibly the most common method of contracting the disease. This usually happens when a person is infected with diphtheria coughs or sneezes around you. The airborne droplets then travel from one person to another, transmitting the infection. This is particularly the case in crowded area such as public transport and public spaces.
- Touching personal items which may be infected: Touching used towels, paper tissues or drinking from an unwashed glass may cause an infection as well. These tend to happen mostly in an indoor setting such as offices and houses. Even toys, door and equipment handles can cause transmission of this virus.
If you are showing any of these symptoms, it is prudent to consult a doctor immediately as diphtheria, if left untreated, may also result in serious complications.