Knowing the Symptoms of Diphtheria in Children and How to Treat It

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Knowing the Symptoms of Diphtheria in Children and How to Treat It
Knowing the Symptoms of Diphtheria in Children and How to Treat It

Diphtheria in children can be caused by many things, from lack of good nutrition to incomplete immunization history. This condition needs to be treated immediately because it can spread quickly. Therefore, mothers need to recognize the symptoms so that treatment can be carried out immediately

Diphtheria is a disease that causes disorders of the mucous membranes of the nose and throat. This disease is caused by infection with the bacteria Corynebacterium diphtheriae.

Know the Symptoms of Diphtheria in Children and How to Treat It - Alodokter

Diphtheria in children needs to be treated immediately, because it can spread quickly through physical contact with someone who has diphtheria, items contaminated with bacteria, or through splashes of saliva from coughs and sneezes that are accidentally inhaled.

Various Symptoms Accompanying Diphtheria in Children

The symptoms of diphtheria generally appear about 2-5 days after the child is infected. Some children may not experience and show any symptoms, but some may experience mild symptoms that resemble the common cold.

The most characteristic symptom of diphtheria is the formation of a thick gray coating on the throat and tonsils. Meanwhile, other symptoms of diphtheria in children include:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • runny nose
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hoarse voice
  • Heart rate increases
  • Wheezing
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck
  • Swelling of the roof of the mouth

If your little one experiences these symptoms, immediately take him to the doctor to get the right treatment before further complications arise.

Complications that can be caused by diphtheria are very dangerous, including inflammation of the heart muscle and valves, heart rhythm disturbances, to the closing of the respiratory tract by the membrane in the throat which can be life threatening.

Diphtheria Treatment in Children and How to Prevent it

To confirm the diagnosis of diphtheria in a child, the doctor will perform a physical examination and take a sample of the gray coating on the tonsils and throat caused by bacterial growth.

If the results of the examination show that the child is positive for diphtheria, hospitalization is necessary. The child may be placed in a special room because diphtheria can spread easily.

The type of treatment that will be carried out by the doctor depends on the symptoms, age, and overall he alth condition of the child. The drugs given basically consist of 2 kinds, namely:


This drug is injected into a vein to neutralize the diphtheria toxin that is already circulating in the body. Before giving the antitoxin, the doctor will do an allergy test to make sure that the child infected with diphtheria does not have an allergy to the antitoxin.


Diphtheria in children can also be treated with antibiotics, such as penicillin or erythromycin. These antibiotics can kill bacteria in the body and clear the infection.

Preventing Diphtheria with Vaccination

Prevention of diphtheria in children can be done through the diphtheria vaccine. In children, the diphtheria vaccine is given in the form of the DPT-HB-Hib combination vaccine.

The DPT-HB-Hib vaccine is able to protect the body from diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis B, meningitis, and pneumonia caused by Haemophilus influenzae type B.

The DPT-HB-Hib vaccine is part of the basic immunizations that must be given to children. This vaccine is given 3 times, namely when children are 2 months old, 3 months old, and 4 months old. Follow-up immunizations will also be given when the child is 18 months old.

Furthermore, advanced diphtheria vaccine in the form of Td (a combination of tetanus and diphtheria), can be given to children in the month of School Child Immunization (BIAS).

Although most children have a good tolerance for the diphtheria vaccine, this vaccine can sometimes cause mild side effects, such as redness, pain at the injection site, and low-grade fever. Although rare, there are also severe complications that can arise, namely severe allergic or anaphylactic reactions.

Diphtheria in children is a serious condition and needs immediate treatment by a pediatrician. Therefore, do not let the symptoms of diphtheria in children drag on so that dangerous complications do not occur.

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