A bacterial infection that produces inflammation and irritation in the throat is known as strep throat. Streptococcus group-A bacteria cause this common disease. Strep throat can affect adults and children of any age.
It affects children aged 5 to 15 years, more than older children. Sneezing and coughing might spread the virus to other people.
Strep Throat Symptoms
The severity of strep throat varies from individual to individual. Mild symptoms, such as a sore throat, are experienced by some individuals. Other patients experience more severe symptoms, including fever and swallowing difficulties.
The following are some of the most prevalent strep throat symptoms:
- Sudden fever, especially if it’s above 101°F (38°C)
- Painful headache
- Reduction in appetite
- Swallowing difficulties.
Within five days of being exposed to the strep bacteria, these symptoms usually appear.
How Contagious is Strep Throat?
The bacterial infection strep throat is highly contagious. When someone with strep throat sneezes or coughs, tiny respiratory droplets become airborne and transmit the infection.
Strep Throat Causes
Streptococcus pyogenes, usually known as group-A Streptococcus, is the bacteria that causes strep throat (also known as group-A strep, or GAS). You can get strep throat if you contact your eyes, nose, or mouth after being exposed to these bacteria. Strep throat can be transferred through sharing food or a drink with someone infected, in addition to coughing and sneezing.
You can also catch strep throat by touching your eyes, nose, or mouth after coming into contact with an object infected with group-A strep bacteria, such as a doorknob or faucet.
Strep Throat Diagnosis
See your doctor if you experience a sore throat that doesn’t go away after two days. A swollen, sore throat with white spots, accompanied by a fine, sandpaper-like pink skin rash, causes breathing and swallowing difficulties.
Your doctor will look for symptoms of irritation in your throat. They may also look for swollen lymph nodes in your neck and inquire about other symptoms. If your doctor suspects you have strep throat, they may do an in-office rapid strep test.
This test determines whether you have a strep infection or another form of bacterium or germ causing your sore throat. A sample is taken by swabbing the back of your throat with a long cotton swab by your doctor. After that, the sample is delivered to a lab to be examined for symptoms of bacteria.
Strep Throat Treatment
Your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic to treat strep throat because it is a bacterial illness. These drugs stop bacteria and infections from spreading. Antibiotics are available in many different types.
You must finish your antibiotic treatment cycle to eradicate the infection. When symptoms improve, some people stop taking their medicine, which can lead to a relapse. If this occurs, the symptoms may reappear.
The most common antibiotics prescribed for strep infection are penicillin and amoxicillin. If you have an amoxicillin allergy or penicillin, your doctor may prescribe azithromycin.
Strep Throat Home Remedies
Home treatments can help reduce the symptoms of strep throat. These remedies include drinking warm liquids, such as tea and lemon water, to help numb the throat, drinking cold beverages, sucking on throat lozenges, and gargling with a mixture of 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 cup water. Natural remedies such as apple cider vinegar and honey may also help to reduce the symptoms.
Strep Throat Prevention
No vaccine can protect you from strep throat. Regularly washing your hands is one of the most effective strategies to help prevent infection. If you don’t have access to soap and water, a hand sanitizer will help.
If you have strep throat, don’t share drinks or food with someone. Don’t share towels, sheets, or pillowcases if someone in your house has strep throat. Dishes and laundry should be washed in hot, soapy water.
Cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow if you have strep throat rather than your hand. Make it a practice to wash your hands regularly.
Strep Throat in Adults
Strep throat is more common in children than in adults. Parents of school-aged children who have been infected are more prone to get the virus. Adults who spend a lot of time with youngsters may be more susceptible to strep throat.
Strep Throat in Toddlers
Although children are more sensitive to strep throat than adults, it is extremely rare among toddlers under three. Children between the ages of 5 and 15 are the most common victims of strep throat.
Because strep throat is highly contagious, it spreads quickly in places where children congregate, such as daycare centers and schools.
Strep Throat When Pregnant
Group A streptococcus causes strep throat; it is not the same as group B streptococcus, found in the rectum or vaginal canal. While group B streptococcus can be transmitted from mother to child after delivery, it is not the same bacteria that causes strep throat.
If you feel you have strep throat while pregnant, consult your doctor as soon as possible to discuss treatment options. Antibiotics may be prescribed, and your doctor will closely monitor your medication.
Essential Oil for Strep Throat
Plant leaves, stems, flowers, and bark are used to make essential oils. By destroying bacteria and lowering inflammation, they may help in the healing process.
The health advantages of essential oils are controversial. However, studies show that essential oils such as lemon, peppermint, ginger, garlic thyme, lavender, and tea can be an excellent alternative to over-the-counter medications for treating strep throat symptoms.
It is not advisable to ingest these oils. They can be inhaled or added to a bath after being diluted with oil.
Strep Throat VS Cold
A virus causes the majority of colds, whereas a bacterial infection causes strep throat. Coughing, a runny nose, and hoarseness are common symptoms of a common cold. With strep throat, these symptoms, particularly coughing, are rare.
When you have a sore throat due to a cold, the pain typically comes on gradually and goes away after a few days. The pain of strep throat can strike at any time. It is very severe and can last for several days.
Colds usually clear up on their own and do not require medical help. Antibiotics are generally administered to treat strep throat to prevent complications such as rheumatic fever.
Strep Throat VS Mono
The Epstein-Barr virus is a common cause of infectious mononucleosis, also known as mono (or “the kissing disease”). Teenagers and young adults are the most usually affected.
Mono symptoms include a sore throat, fever, and swollen lymph nodes, just like strep throat. In contrast to strep throat, which is caused by bacteria, mono is caused by a virus. It is not treated with antibiotics.
Your doctor can conduct tests to see if your sore throat is due to mono.
Can Strep Throat be Prevented or Avoided?
The strep throat infection is highly contagious. When you are among people who have strep throat, it can be challenging to protect yourself. When possible, stay away from persons who have strep. Wash your hands frequently if you must be around someone who has strep throat. One of the most efficient ways to keep germs at bay is to wash your hands.
Strep Throat Recovery
If your strep throat symptoms don’t improve within 48 hours of taking an antibiotic, call your doctor to minimize your risk of complications. To treat the infection, doctors may need to prescribe a different antibiotic.
Strep throat, if left untreated, can lead to significant consequences. These may include ear infections, scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, and sinusitis.