Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Diphtheria Home Care

Home care for diphtheria includes:

Diphtheria Cough in Adults

Home treatment of a cough in adults with diphtheria includes:

  • Avoid respiratory irritants, such as pollution, pollen, mold, dust and chemical fumes
  • Change A/C and furnace filters regularly.
  • Do not smoke and avoid exposure to secondary smoke.
  • Drink warm liquids to relieve coughing spasms.
  • Raise the head of your bed at night and sleep on your left side: this minimizes acid reflux.
  • Use throat lozenges.
  • Place a vaporizer or nebulizer in the bedroom at night.

Cough medications:

Cough medication precautions:

Diphtheria Cough in Children

Home treatment of a cough in children with diphtheria includes:

  • Avoid respiratory irritants, such as pollution, pollen, mold, dust and chemical fumes
  • Change A/C and furnace filters regularly.
  • Avoid exposure to secondary smoke.
  • Drink warm liquids to relieve coughing spasms.
  • Use throat lozenges, but do not use them in children under 5 years of age.
  • Place a vaporizer or nebulizer in the bedroom at night.

Cough medicines:

Dosing Dextromethorphan
Childs WeightDextromethorphan Dose
22 lb (10 kg)5 mg every 8 hrs
33 lb (15 kg)7.5 mg every 8 hrs
44 lb (20 kg)10 mg every 8 hrs
55 lb (25 kg)12.5 mg every 8 hrs
66 lb (30 kg)15 mg every 8 hrs
88 lb (40 kg)20 mg every 8 hrs
110 lb (50 kg)25 mg every 8 hrs
132 lb-adult (60 kg)30 mg every 8 hrs

Cough medication precautions:

Diphtheria Pain and Fever Adults

Medications commonly used to control pain and fever in adults with diphtheria include:


Acetaminophen
  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Adult dosing is 2 regular strength (325 mg) every 4 hours or 2 extra-strength (500 mg) every 6 hours.
  • Maximum dose is 4,000 mg per day.
  • Avoid this drug if you have alcoholism, liver disease or an allergy to the drug. See the package instructions.
  • Common brand names include Tylenol, Panadol, and many others.

Aspirin

Ibuprofen

Naproxen

Ketoprofen

NSAID Precautions

Diphtheria Pain and Fever Children

Common medications used at home for pain and fever in children with diphtheria include:


Aspirin and most of the other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are not used in children except under a doctor's care.

Acetaminophen
  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Dosing is 10-15 mg per kilogram (5-7 mg per pound) of body weight every 4-6 hours, up to the adult dose.
  • Do not exceed the maximum daily dose.
  • Acetaminophen products come in various strengths. Always follow the package instructions.
  • Avoid this drug in children with liver disease or an allergy to acetaminophen.
  • Common acetaminophen products include Tylenol, Panadol and many others.

Ibuprofen

Naproxen

Diphtheria Sore Throat in Adults

Home care for a sore throat in an adult with diphtheria includes:

Diphtheria Sore Throat in Children

Home care for a sore throat in a child with diphtheria includes:

  • Avoid citrus juice.
  • Avoid hot and spicy foods.
  • Avoid exposure to secondary smoke.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Numb the throat pain with throat spray or lozenges.
  • Perform warm salt water gargles several times a day. Mix 1/2 teaspoon (92.5 ml) salt per cup (240 cc) of water.
  • Place a vaporizer or nebulizer in the bedroom at night.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain or fever
  • Acetaminophen for pain or fever

Diphtheria Warning Signs

Notify your doctor if you have diphtheria and any of the following:

Continue to Diphtheria Prevention

Last Updated: Feb 15, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Diphtheria References
  1. Matheson AJ, Goa KL. Diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis vaccine adsorbed (Triacelluvax; DTaP3-CB): a review of its use in the prevention of Bordetella pertussis infection. Paediatr Drugs. 2000 Mar-Apr;2(2):139-59. [10937466]
  2. McCluney NA, McKerrow WS. Should we be concerned about diphtheria in the UK? Surgeon. 2004 Aug;2(4):234-5. [15570833]
  3. Pichichero ME, Rennels MB, Edwards KM, Blatter MM, Marshall GS, Bologa M, Wang E, Mills E. Combined tetanus, diphtheria, and 5-component pertussis vaccine for use in adolescents and adults. JAMA. 2005 Jun 22;293(24):3003-11. [15933223]
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