The Symptoms and Treatment of Strep Throat
No one likes to have a sore throat, but what if you had strep throat? The two are not actually the same. Find out what strep throat really is so that you know what you are dealing with.
Strep throat is a possible cause of a sore throat. It can lead to throat infection. A throat infection can come from inflammation in your tonsils (tonsillitis) or a problem with your oro-pharynx (pharyngitis).
If the infection is viral in nature there is not much that you can do. Viruses have no known cures and just have to run their course. You can treat the symptoms but that is all. When it comes to a bacterial infection, that’s another story.
One bacterium that often causes problems is Streptococcus, most commonly Group A. That is where we get the term strep throat from. Streptococcus often occurs in children and teens but adults can be affected as well. Strep bacteria are a group of bacteria that are round and long in shape, like a chain.
How will you know if you have strep throat? First, you will probably have a sore throat. Children can’t tell you when their throat is sore so they get fussy and cranky. Babies may have a decreased appetite because sucking can make their throat hurt more.
Children are the same way. They may say that their mouth hurts but it is actually a sore throat that is making them feel bad. If you feel their neck you may feel raised bumps. These are their swollen lymph nodes due to the infection. There may be a fever that accompanies strep throat.
If the sore throat doesn’t improve with fluids, there could be more to it. With a fever, possible vomiting, lack of appetite and stomach ache, you could be dealing with strep throat. This infection is contagious when fever is present, so see your doctor right away.
A doctor can do a test to see if you or your child actually has a strep infection in the throat. He will swab the throat. Most doctors’ offices can perform a rapid strep test if they suspect that it is indeed strep throat. The infections are more common in fall, winter and on into the beginning of spring.
Strep throat is treated with antibiotics. Penicillin is usually the medicine of choice. It can be given orally or through an injection. Antibiotics need to be taken for a full ten days as directed to be sure that the infection is gone. Even if you feel better, don’t stop taking the medicine.
When strep keeps coming back over and over causing tonsillitis, the doctor may recommend another course of treatment. In this case, surgical intervention to remove the tonsils can stop the recurrent infections.
If you suspect that you or your child has strep throat, seek medical attention right away.