Are you jetting off for a holiday or business trip outside the UK? You may need a diphtheria vaccination to stay safe. Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that attacks the nose and throat, and even the skin in some instances. Even though it’s highly contagious, its cases are rare in the UK. However, there are chances of encountering it if you travel to some parts of the globe. Continue reading to learn how you can protect yourself with a diphtheria vaccine in Coventry.
If not attended to quickly, diphtheria can be a serious condition; it’s even life-threatening at times, especially in children. Luckily, vaccination against the infection is available.
Diphtheria cases have become rare across the UK thanks to the routine vaccination against it given to children and babies since the 1940s.
The best way to keep diphtheria away is through getting full vaccination against it.
If your last vaccination happened more than 10 years ago, you may need to receive a booster vaccination when travelling to regions where the chances of catching the infection are high.
Cases of diphtheria have been reported by the WHO in some regions of the world since 2018. These regions include:
– South America
The parts of the world that are most affected by diphtheria are subject to change over time. Visit the TravelHealthPro country guides website for updated information about your destination.
Diphtheria spreads at a very high rate through coughs and sneezes, or through making close contact with someone who has the infection.
The infection can also spread through sharing of items, such as bedding, clothing, cutlery or cups with an infected person.
Diphtheria symptoms usually start to show 2 to 5 days after contracting the infection. The symptoms include:
– Thick white or grey coating at the back of your throat, tongue and nose
– High temperatures
– Swallowing and breathing difficulties
– Sore throat
– Swelling of neck glands
Diphtheria vaccination is usually given to babies, in the form of a combination of vaccines, such as DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus). Pentavalent vaccines, which simultaneously vaccinate against five diseases affecting children, including diphtheria, are often used by organisations such as UNICEF through disease prevention programmes in developing countries.
The treatments that are most commonly used are:
– Antibiotics to get rid of bacteria.
– Medicines for reversing the effects of toxins produced by diphtheria bacteria.
– In-depth cleaning of wounds brought by diphtheria on your skin, if any.
Treatment normally takes about 2 to 3 weeks. Skin ulcers go for up to 2-3 months before healing, but you may be left with scars.
If you come into contact with an infected person, it’s advisable to get antibiotics or a dose of the diphtheria vaccine.
You notice any diphtheria symptoms and you:
– Are somewhere in the world where diphtheria cases are prevalent.
– Recently visited a place where the infection is common.
– Made close contact with a person who’s infected.
You should swiftly seek diphtheria treatment to avoid health complications, such as breathing difficulties and heart problems.
Diphtheria vaccines are given in the following order:
– 8, 12 and 16 weeks – 3 separate doses of 6-in-1 vaccine
– 3 years & 4 months – 4-in-1 booster before school
– 14 years – 3-in-1 teenage booster
The vaccine gives protection for up to 10 years, after which you’ll need a booster jab to keep your protection active.
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