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Can Diphtheria be prevented and are there treatment options?

Updated January 19, 2023


Diphtheria can be prevented by ensuring proper hygiene practices which include: 

· Frequent handwashing with soap and water

· Proper disposal of used tissues

· Avoiding use of items belonging to persons who may be ill

· Staying away from individuals who are sick

Treatment options for diphtheria include the use of diphtheria antitoxin, and antibiotics such as penicillin and erythromycin. 

Additional medical interventions may include: 

  • Fluids by IV

  • Oxygen

  • Bed rest

  • Heart monitoring

  • Insertion of a breathing tube

  • Correction of airway blockages

It is estimated that 90 percent of individuals who receive treatment for respiratory diphtheria will fully recover within four to six weeks. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: NVIC encourages you to become fully informed about Diphtheria and the Diphtheria vaccine by reading all sections in the Table of Contents, which contain many links and resources such as the manufacturer product information inserts, and to speak with one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination decision for yourself or your child. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.


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