05 August 2010|
Strep throat is a bacterial infection in the throat and the tonsils. It is caused by streptococcal bacteria (a germ or microbe), unlike most other sore throats which are caused by a virus. Antibiotics kill germs but do not affect viruses; this is why most colds and sore throats do not benefit from antibiotics. If you show any signs of a cold, such as coughing, sneezing, or runny/stuffy nose, you most likely do not have strep throat, and instead have a sore throat – one of the viruses.
Symptoms of Strep Throat:
Ø Sudden, Severe Sore Throat
Ø Pain When Swallowing
Ø Fever of 101º Fahrenheit
Ø Swollen Tonsils/Lymph Nodes
Ø White/Yellow Spotting on Back of Throat
Ø Headache/Belly Pain
Less Common Symptoms:
Ø Red Skin Rash
Ø Loss of Appetite
Ø Body Aches
Ø Cold Symptoms – Coughing, Sneezing, Runny/Stuffy Nose
Strep throat is contagious and can be spread through touch, coughs, or sneezes. Symptoms show within 2 to 5 days of contact with contagious people.
Although, the symptoms of strep throat will go away with or without treatment in 3 to 7 days, Doctors will treat strep throat with antibiotics to prevent rare secondary complications, to prevent it spreading to other persons, and for a hasty recovery. Most people stop being contagious 24 hours after being treated with antibiotics; however, those not treated may still be contagious for up to 2 to 3 weeks after showing no more symptoms.
Over-the-counter medicine with acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen (such as Advil) are used to help ease the pain and reduce fever; however, if you are under the age of 20, do not use aspirin. Aspirin has been linked to Reye syndrome, a serious illness.
Ø Wash Hands Regularly
Ø Avoid Contact with Contagious Persons
Ø Do Not Share Toothbrushes
Ø Do Not Share Drinks or Eating Utensils
If you have strep throat, the best ways to avoid spreading the infection are to stay home, do not cough or sneeze on others, use disposable tissues instead of handkerchiefs, wash your hands often, and visit your doctor for antibiotics in order to shorten the period during which you are contagious.