Strep throat is a condition which is considered a bacterial infection. Whenever you feel pain, swelling, and heavy voice, it is usually bacteria which is responsible for this. The name “Strep Throat” signifies two things, one is that it is related to throat, second is that it is caused by Strep.
Strep is the short form of group A Streptococcus bacteria. It is the top causative agent of such throat infections. For some reason, children are more likely to get affected by it. The range of kids which suffer from Strep infection is between 5 to 15 years of age.
The infection is contagious and it can spread from one person to another in short time. In case you don’t know much about it, here is everything which can help you to understand this infection.
What are the most common symptoms of a Strep throat?
You can easily know if the infection is just a casual sore throat or something serious like Strep throat infection by focusing on a few symptoms. The severity of this infection is not same in all people. The symptoms can be very mild to severe in different people suffering from the same infection.
The mildest condition is to have a sore throat like symptoms. In severe cases, the symptoms are more defined and usually, they are accompanied by fever and unable to swallow food. The most common things which you may feel in a Strep infection are following.
- An extremely high fever which crosses 101˚F.
- A sore throat like feeling
- Body pains
- Cold chills
- Appetite loss
- Swollen lymph nodes in neck
- Unable to eat something
- Difficulty in speaking
The symptoms become more clear but more extreme when you give it some time. They may not show up at the start but with time, most of these symptoms are common to see among Strep throat patients.
Is it treatable at home?
Strep throat is a pathogenic infection and you can’t really treat it before knowing the diagnosis. For most of the diseases, it is diagnosis which takes most of the time. Before knowing what is the actual disease, it is nearly impossible to treat it.
For Strep throat infection, using simple home based remedies is helpful but you can’t really treat the bacterial infection with it. If only you use a home base remedy at the start of the infection, it may affect the infection and stop it from spreading.
For a quick and efficient diagnosis, you should consult your nearest health service provider.
What is the right time to get yourself checked?
If you are thinking that Strep infection can be treated at home, that’s not true. A sore throat is a relatively lower infection which is what you often mistake Strep infection for. But not all sore throats are strep infections and not one thing is the causative agent of a sore throat.
It could be anything for example,
- If you have a common cold, it may initiate a sore throat.
- If you are suffering from a sinus infection, you may end up having a bad sore throat.
- If you are a victim of postnasal drip, sore throat is one major secondary infection.
- Sometimes acid reflux also makes you sick to have a sore throat.
The major thing to know here is that not all sore throats need medical care. Talking about the home based remedies, they work bets with a sore throat which is minor by nature. However, if there are a bacteria behind it, it may take longer than usual to treat it.
All mild cold-related sore throat infections go away even when you don’t use anything for it. Some persistent infections like Strep throat infection don’t go away on its own but it turns worse. You should immediately run to the doctor if you see any of the following.
- If your sore throat lasts for more than 3 days.
- If you have white patches on a sore throat.
- If you can see or feel tonsils swollen.
- If you are unable to breathe properly.
- If you have lost your appetite and are unable to eat anything.
Which doctor should you see?
This is the first question which comes to your mind whenever you plan to get yourself checked. In case of Strep throat, the best is to consult an ENT physician which is an expert of ear, nose, and throat. As these organs are interconnected, the specialist would know how bad your infection is.
You can filter the best physicians around your area before planning to go out to get checked. You can take help from internet to find a nearby doctor.
How does a doctor diagnoses Strep Throat?
Obviously, you can’t go and say to the doctor that you have Strep throat and he should treat it. It is not yours but a doctor’s work to check and diagnose the problem. The self-based diagnosis has the highest chance to be wrong. Don’t rely on your personal opinion and always ask the doctor about it.
You may probably go to the doctor and tell him that you can’t eat or breath and feel a pain in the throat. The first thing which the doctor will notice is the inflammation. he may also check the swollen lymph nodes and ask for other symptoms i.e. fever, chills etc.
If all the information leads to a Strep infection, the best is to get it confirmed by a rapid Strep test. It determines whether or not you have a Strep infection which is making you feel like a sore throat infection.
In this test, the doctor will use a swab and swatch the back side of the throat. This area has the highest bacterial count, in case that you are suffering from a Strep throat infection. This cotton swab will be the sample and sent to the lab immediately for testing.
The results will determine the state of your infection. If this test is negative, it means that no bacteria is behind this and most probably it is a minor sore throat. He will send you relevant medicines.
In case the result of this rapid Strep test is positive, the doctor will make sure to give you high potency medicines to get rid of Strep throat infection as soon as possible. Sometimes it may take a day or two to process your test sample in case the laboratory is outdoor.
What is the treatment option for Strep throat?
Strep throat infection needs extreme care and highly efficient medication both. If you are positively diagnosed with the infection, the doctor will you antibiotics. The antibiotics are highly accurate to kill the bacteria.
There are so many types of antibiotics available and the doctor will only give you those which are suitable for treating a Strep infection. The only precaution with using antibiotics is that you have to complete the cycle of antibiotics otherwise they are damaging.
As soon you stop using antibiotics in a couple of days, the symptoms will return. So it is better to use antibiotics for as long as the doctor prescribes to use them. He may also give some analgesic medicines to ease the body and headaches.
Personal care plans
Alongside medicines, personal care is necessary to treat the Strep infection. A few things which you can try to improve your condition are as follows.
- Use a herbal tea.
- Avoid drinking chilly cold water and all beverages.
- Take warm liquid food i.e. soups, broth etc.
- Using a cold mist humidifier.
- Taking over the counter medicines for pain relief.
- Gargling with salt water.
Possible outcomes of an untreated Strep infection
In case you don’t know, not getting help would not make you comfortable while dealing with a Strep infection. If you use medicines and take care, the infection will end up in no more than one week.
If you don’t use medicines regularly or don’t follow the instructions of the doctor, the infection is most probably to last more than usual and it can turn into some highly undesirable complications.
For example, you can get any of the following.
- Rheumatic fever
- Ear infections
- Scarlet fever
- Tonsils abscess
- Post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis and much more.
It is better to take the Strep infection of throat serious and consult to the doctor as soon as the symptoms get worse. If you don’t see any progress even after 2 days of taking medicine, you must immediately consult the doctor in an emergency.
Sometimes the medicine is not suitable and is not working and you need to get this changed as soon as you realize it. Also, make sure that you follow all the instructions carefully at a personal level.