(Last Updated on : 15/02/2014)
Diphtheria is a bacterial infection caused by Corynebacterium diptheriae. This is an acute infectious disease, accompanied by a membranous exudation on a mucous surface. Generally on the tonsils, and back of the throat or pharynx become affected. Toxins in the exudation are likely to harm the heart muscle and the nerves.
Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that spreads easily and occurs quickly. It mainly affects the nose and throat. Children under five and adults over sixty years old are particularly at risk for contracting the infection. People living in crowded or unclean conditions, those who aren't well nourished, and children and adults who don't have up-to-date immunizations are also at risk.
Causes and Symptoms
: Diphtheria is predominantly a disease of autumn and winter, and although it affects all ages. It is more common in childhood. It begins as an inflammation of the throat. Next, a membrane develops over the throat and choking the patient. If this membrane extends into the air passage, the patient experiences asphyxia i.e. inability to breathe. It is rare among infants up to the age of six months. According to Ayurveda, diphtheria is the result of the vitiation of the kapha.
The toxin of diphtheria has a special predilection for the heart as it attacks vehemently, resulting in its failure. The temperature in this disease rarely rises beyond 39.4° C, but the pulse is weak and rapid, and the countenance pale. The swelling of the glands in the neck increases rapidly, leading to blood poisoning.
Medicines & Prescriptions:
Shuddha Visha, Kasturi Bhairava, Shringa Bhasma, Kalaka Churna
: 20 mg of Shuddha Visha, 30 mg each of Kasturi Bhairava and Shringa Bhasma, 240 mg of Kalaka Churna to be taken every three hours till relief is noticed.
Shuddha Tankan, Yavakshara, Katphaladi Churna
: 260 mg of Shuddha Tankan, 750 mg of Yavakshara, 4 gm of Katphaladi Churna to be mixed with honey and juice of ginger, and used as a linctus.
The course of the disease is extremely rapid. If proper medication is not given in time, there is little hope for survival of the patient. Sometimes surgical help has to be sought. Normally the surgeons make a supplementary air passage to let the patient breathe and in the meantime, medication is also given.
Allopathy has developed a serum which, if injected in childhood, gives lifelong immunity against the disease. Normally, it is a part of the triple antigen which is administered to infants.
Diet and Other Regimen
: The patient may be put on a liquid diet. A mouthwash after each meal is recommended every time.