Strep Throat

At some point of our life each one of us would have developed strep throat. The throat becomes scratchy and sore due to bacterial infection. Strep throat infection is common in young children and it is to be treated with antibiotics to prevent any complications. It can cause throat pain, sore throat and inflammation of throat and tonsils. If left untreated for long time, strep throat can cause scarlet fever and inflammation of kidneys.

Symptoms :

Some of the common signs of strep throat are sore throat, difficulty in swallowing, swollen tonsils, and red colored throat with white patches on it, swollen lymph nodes and mild fever. It can cause tiny spots on the soft palate. For some people it can cause headache and skin rashes. Young children may get dehydrated by not drinking anything due to swollen throat.

If your child has developed a sore throat with swollen lymph nodes or if he has fever with difficulty in swallowing it can be a sign of strep throat. The symptoms of sore throat develop suddenly but the infection would be severe causing pain and inflammation. Strep throat is contagious and hence your child can spread the disease when he coughs or sneezes. Bacteria exists in the tiny droplets of air particles which would be breathed by others causing infection.

Causes :

Strep throat is caused by bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes. Often bacteria enter into the body of others by inhaling air particles that contain strep bacteria or by sharing food particles of infected person. It can also be passed on to other people when they touch the infected objects and accidentally rub their nose or eyes.

Who are at risk?

Strep throat infection can occur at any age but is common in young age people. This infection is more prevalent during fall or early spring. In rare cases strep throat can cause complications in the tonsils and ears and also inflammatory reactions like scarlet and rheumatic fever.

Diagnosis :

Your doctor would look for the above symptoms after physical examination. He would check the lymph nodes of the neck portion for swelling. He would also examine the tongue and tonsils for any inflammation. To confirm the diagnosis he would do a throat culture by rubbing a cotton swab gently at the back of the throat and testing it on the lab. It would take two days for this culture test. In severe cases, he would perform rapid antigen test for detecting bacteria in the swab to start the treatment immediately.

Treatment :

Since strep throat is caused by bacteria antibiotics are effective in controlling the symptoms. Oral pills like penicillin or amoxicillin of suitable dosage are given for strep throat. For getting immediate relief from throat pain the person can take ibuprofen or Tylenol. In severe infection he would prescribe cephalexin or azithromycin or other suitable antibiotics according to the intensity of symptoms.

Once the child has started taking antibiotics the risk of spreading the infection to others reduces. Within two days the child would feel better and he could eat/drink food. It is necessary to complete the course of antibiotics since stopping them in the middle can worsen the situation causing more severe infection.

Home Remedies :

Children may feel tired due to throat pain and fever and may refuse to eat or drink anything. Do not send them to school if they have such symptoms. You can give them ibuprofen to get quick relief from body pain and sore throat. Give them plenty of rest. Encourage them to drink lots of liquids to prevent dehydration. You can give lozenges that clear the sore throat.

Avoid eating hot and spicy foods when you have a sore throat. Eat soft foods like cooked cereals, soups, soft fruits and plenty of yogurts. Don’t take acidic fruits or food items which can worsen the sore throat. Gargling with salt water several times a day can give good relief from swelling and throat pain. Dryness can increase the problem hence you can use a humidifier to retain moisture. The mucus membranes can be kept moist using nasal sprays.

Pictures of Strep Throat :

Images, Pics, Pictures and Photos of Strep Throat

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Prevention :

Children at school often work in groups which increase the chance of spreading the infection. So it is the duty of the parents to retain them at home when they have fever or throat infection. Instruct the children to wash their hands thoroughly before eating food. It is a good practice to cover the mouth with soft cloth while coughing or sneezing.

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