Strep throat is an infection caused by group A streptococcus bacteria, and it’s very common among kids and teens. The symptoms of strep throat include fever, stomach pain, and red, swollen tonsils. Only a small portion of sore throats are the result of strep throat. But it’s important to identify this bacterial throat infection for a number of reasons. Unlike other causes of sore throat, strep throat is treatable. The bacteria that cause strep throat respond quickly to antibiotics, and treatment stops the infection from spreading to other people.
There are other things that can happen with strep throat. Scarlet fever is the best-known: this is a combination of strep throat with a rash, usually on the lower abdomen and spreading from there to the trunk, that consists of fine red bumps with a sandpaper-like consistency. The more important complications of strep throat, which usually do not happen unless the infection is left untreated for a long time, include.
How to Diagnose Strep Throat?
The throat of the patient is swabbed for culture or for a rapid strep test (5 to 15 min), which can be done in the ENT doctor’s office. A rapid test tests for the presence of antibodies against the bacteria. If the rapid test is negative, a follow-up culture (which takes 24 to 48 hours) may be performed if all or most symptoms of strep throat are present.
Symptoms of Strep Throat includes:
- red and white patches in the throat
- difficulty swallowing
- tender or swollen glands (lymph nodes) in the neck
- red and enlarged tonsils
- lower stomach pain
- general discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling
- loss of appetite and nausea
Care and Treatment of Strep Throat
Strep throat will go away in 3 to 7 days with or without treatment. Doctors usually treat strep throat with antibiotics even though they may not make you well faster. Antibiotics shorten the time you are able to spread the disease to others (are contagious) and lower the risk of spreading the infection to other parts of your body. Your doctor may give you or your child an antibiotic. Antibiotics kill bacteria, which helps strep throat go away a little faster. It can also prevent a few rare but serious conditions that people with strep throat might get. It is important to take all of the medicine your doctor gives you.
How to prevent Strep Throat?
To prevent your sick child from spreading strep throat to others in your home, keep his or her eating utensils, dishes, and drinking glasses separate from those that everyone else is using. Wash them in hot, soapy water after each use. Also, make sure your child doesn’t share food, drinks, napkins, handkerchiefs, or towels with other family members.
Make sure your child covers his or her mouth and nose during a sneeze or a cough to prevent passing infectious fluid droplets to someone else. And it’s a good idea to throw out your child’s toothbrush after the antibiotic treatment has been started, and your child’s sickness is no longer contagious.