Strep Throat, which is also known as Streptococcal pharyngitis, is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes, also called Group A streptococci (GAS). Streptococcus pyogenes is a gram-positive extracellular bacterium.
Strep throat is transmissible through respiratory droplets, hand contact, and nasal discharge of an infected person. Anyone with strep pharyngitis is a carrier of the disease. The common route of entry of strep bacteria is the oral cavity. The primary sites of GAS colonization are skin and nasopharyngeal mucosa (throat.)
Common sign and symptoms of strep throat include:
- Sore throat
- Fever (usually greater than 100.4°F or 38°C)
- Pain while swallowing food or drinking
- Inflamed pharynx/throat and lymph nodes
- White patches in the throat region
- Red patches on the roof of the throat
- Body aches
Although these are the symptoms of strep throat, many of these symptoms can also be a result of viral, not bacterial, infection.
Streptococcal pyogenes infections like strep throat occur when bacteria attach to human epithelial cells, which are located throughout the body including nasal and oral cavities.
After the first invasion of human tissues, Streptococcal pyogenes spread quickly to other organs and spread infection. After the bacteria has invaded the site, a few neutrophils migrate to the site of infection. Neutrophils are a kind of white blood cell that fights against bacterial infections.
Strep throat tends to produce pain quickly. Diagnosis can be made through visualization of the throat as well as by taking a swab of the throat for testing.
Penicillin is the first line of therapy for patients with strep throat. Cephalosporins are also effective in cases when patients have an anaphylactic reaction to penicillin. In the case of hypersensitivity to penicillin, Erythromycin may be used.
A sore throat can be treated with analgesics or antipyretics like ibuprofen or aspirin. Note that aspirin use should be avoided in children. Salt water gargles are helpful for treating enlarged tonsils. Rest and hydration are also mainstays of supportive therapy. Close contacts of people who have been diagnosed with strep who are symptomatic or have a history of post-streptococcal complications should be examined for strep.
Some of the strep throat-associated complications are rheumatic heart disease, acute rheumatic fever, and post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis.
Treatment is indicated case of infections so that complications do not occur.
Handwashing is the best way to avoid spreading strep throat to others.
In case of urgent medical care assistance, AfterOurs Urgent Care offers immediate telemedicine services, where medical providers are available to offer assistance. Anyone who experiences signs and symptoms requiring urgent medical attention can simply book their appointment with AfterOurs Urgent Care to directly talk to an expert. If your medical issue is not appropriate for telemedicine, we will let you know and refer you to an in-person facility.
When to visit a doctor:
If you notice symptoms of fever and pain in the throat, you should see a medical practitioner to rule out serious infection. This will help guide treatment and reduce the spread of the disease.
Treatment for strep throat is available at AfterOurs Urgent Care.
For more information on strep throat, see the following website: