What is Strep Throat?
Streptococcal sore throat or famously known as strep throat is a respiratory condition that is caused by a specific streptococcal bacteria. This condition is most common to the young especially the school-aged children and teenagers. Many experience sore throat and is said to be caused by the Streptococcus spp bacteria or Group A Streptococcus bacteria or Streptococcus pyogenes. Strep throat infection attacks our throat tissues thus causing an inflammation. These bacteria are also known not only to affect our throats but as well as the skin causing impetigo.
In order for this condition to be diagnosed, laboratory tests are necessary. A throat culture is said to be the gold standard for the diagnosis of strep throat. A sensitivity of 90-95% will indicate positive for strep throat. Another exam is called rapid strep test also known as rapid antigen detection testing. This is a more convenient test as this can be quicker, results can be attained in minutes, compared to throat culture. A positive result is concluded once the throat culture or RADT along with all the presenting symptoms are identified.
Strep Throat Symptoms
Asymptomatic patients are very rare. But because of the possibility of no presenting symptoms, the spreading of the infection can be fast with no known source as this can be masked by some. Diagnosis can be hard to attain if we are only to base the condition with the symptoms. But these symptoms can be very helpful in the process along with the laboratory exams. The common signs and symptoms are the following:
- Sore throat, tender
- Tender lymph nodes on the neck (also known as cervical lymphadenopathy) or under the jaw
- White patches visible on the tonsils or back of throat
Other presenting symptoms are also associated with strep throat:
- Headache, abdominal pain, nausea & vomiting, body malaise, loss of appetite and skin rash
As the infection progresses, the tendency is that more symptoms come about such as runny nose, cough, hoarseness, eye redness, muscle aches, ulcers in the mouth, and diarrhea which may suggest viral infection. Sometimes the presentation may vary from one person to another. This is possible for those people with a weakened immune system. Tendency is that their strep throat presentation is much worse than to those who are healthier.
Seeking for medical help is indeed a must especially when one experiences fever as this can indicate progression of the infection. Further evaluation is to be done in order for the specific treatment will be provided. If one is not cured after 3 to 4 days of treatment, seeking the doctor’s assistance is very much needed. Complications such as these needs to be given attention IMMEDIATELY:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Inability to drink or swallow food
- Severe sore throat or pain
- Bleeding in the throat
- Prominent swelling of the neck
Other more serious omplications include the development of rheumatic fever. This is serious condition that can lead to a heart problem. This condition can damage our heart valves and unfortunately common to the young. Abscess formation indicates a high degree of infection has occurred. Toxic shock syndrome is a very rare complication and is due to the causative agent Group A Streptococcus.
Strep Throat Treatment
Medical assistance is needed in order to avoid spread of the infection. Once a person is diagnosed, treating the presenting symptoms is given priority. Giving of analgesics such as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can relieve the discomfort the patient is experiencing. Aspirin is given to patients but not recommended to children for their risk to develop a condition called Reye’s syndrome. Antibiotics are very essential in treating strep throat especially the causative agent Streptococcus spp. Once antibiotics are given in an early date of the infection, the spreading of the bacteria is avoided. This drug therapy is very much recommended for this can also avoid progression of complications. Giving of penicillin is done as a one-time treatment for to attain immediate relief from strep throat. Cephalosporins and macrolides are also given to patients who are found allergic to penicillin.
Home remedies are provided to the mass. This self-care management is very easy to do and can assist in the medical management which the doctor has recommended.
Increase oral fluid intake
Increasing oral fluid intake can relieve the fever which the patient may be experiencing. Fluid loss is also a possibility of the infection. In order to avoid complications, hydration is very much assistive in the process.
Take throat lozenges
This can provide relief from the discomfort of strep throat.
Recovery can be attained more rapidly with adequate rest.
Licorice is said to be effective in relieving pain.
Is Strep Throat Contagious?
Strep throat can be very contagious and can easily spread from one person to another easily. Direct contact from the infected person makes one susceptible in the development of strep throat. This can also be transmitted through droplet form or through nasal secretions and saliva. The close proximity between an infected person and uninfected person can be also a source of transmission.
In order to avoid such infection, one should be doing the necessary measures to avoid the spread of illness. A person should be responsible when he is known to have strep throat by protecting others. Separation of the used utensils, dishes, and drinking glasses is a must-do. Sharing of foods and drinks, also personal belongings should not be done. Another action is by covering the mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing needs to be followed by the infected person. And most importantly, follow frequent hand washing to hinder cross contamination.
Some who develop strep throat have no presenting symptoms or are asymptomatic. But as one acquires the bacterial infection, the symptoms generally start to present themselves 1 to 4 days after exposure. This is said to be the incubation period. This is a very short incubation compared to other infections. Exposure to the Streptococcus spp can have a sudden reaction and may start to develop in a short time after.
Strep Throat Pictures
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