Strep Throat – What Is It and What Can You Do About It

Strep Throat is an infection caused by group A Streptococcus (group A strep) bacteria that attacks the throat and tonsils. Though Strep Throat is largely common among children and teenagers, adults, particularly those who work with or have children, can also get it. The infection usually spreads while sharing fluids with infected individuals and manifests so fast that one may go to bed healthy but wake up sick.

Signs and symptoms of Strep Throat can include:

  • Throat pain that usually appears suddenly
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus
  • Small red spots at the back of the roof of the mouth
  • Swollen, tender lymph nodes in your neck
  • Nausea or vomiting, particularly in children
  • Body aches

If you have these symptoms, it is better to consult your ENT doctor. You can also book an online appointment for an ENT doctor for them to assess you for a bacterial infection of the throat, which could be Strep. If untreated, Strep Throat can lead to kidney inflammation and rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever might cause painful and inflamed joints, a certain type of rash, even damage to your heart valve.

However, it is also possible to have these symptoms and still not have Strep Throat as most of these symptoms are similar to that of viral infection. This is why ENT doctors usually perform tests specifically designed for detecting Strep Throat. Moreover, it is also possible to be exposed to a person infected with Strep Throat but show no symptoms. To know more about Strep Throat you can consult an ENT doctor online on DocGenie.

Remedies for Strep

If you think you have got infected with Strep Throat, it is important to visit an ENT specialist or consult an ENT doctor online. Your ENT doctor will prescribe a course of antibiotics like penicillin or amoxicillin to eliminate the infection causing bacteria. It generally takes up to two days for the antibiotics to alleviate the symptoms by eradicating the bacteria that caused the infection. The medication will also prevent you from developing complications like rheumatic fever as well as from spreading the infection to others.

Meanwhile, you can try the following to ease your symptoms-

Rest and Sleep

Sleep and rest can fight the infection well. If infected, try to stay at home and take ample rest. Strep Throat infection spreads fast and remains infectious for 24 hours after you have taken the antibiotics and no longer run a fever.

Drink plenty of water

Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other fluids can keep your body hydrated which alleviates the symptoms. Moreover, drinking water or fluids will keep your throat wet which can lessen pain while swallowing.

Eat soft food

Soft food is easy to swallow and helps soothe your sore throat. Foods like soup, oatmeal, mashed potatoes, yogurt, or ice cream or a smoothie are good for the infected throat. Try to avoid spicy foods and fruits containing citric acid as they may aggravate the condition.

Use a Humidifier

The moist air from a cool-mist humidifier can relieve your discomfort. However, if not cleaned daily the humidifier might have a mould and bacteria build-up inside it. You can also use a nasal saline spray to get some relief.

Gargle With Salt Water

Gargling with warm salt water can bring you relief and alleviate the pain.

Avoid Irritants

Irritants like perfumes, cigarettes, and cleaning products can aggravate the condition making the infection more severe. It is better to stay away from them while being infected.

Remedies for Children

In case your child has developed a fever and a sore throat, it might be symptoms of Strep Throat. It is always good to consult an ENT doctor or book an online appointment for an ENT doctor to get your child examined. In the meantime you may do the following:

  • Make your child stay at home and take rest
  • Wash his/her hands frequently
  • Make your child drink water and clear fluids to keep the throat moist

When to See Your Doctor

If you think you or any of your family members have got Strep Throat, the best thing is to consult an ENT doctor at the earliest. ENT doctors usually perform tests like rapid antigen tests to diagnose Strep Throat within minutes. If that test is negative but you still show symptoms, your doctor might suggest a throat culture to detect the presence of any bacteria.

Also read: Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Problems and Treatments

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