Strep throat is an infection in which the infected person's throat is severely itchy or sore. It is primarily a consequence of inflammation or bacterial infection.

Because strep throat frequently results in problems like rheumatic fever, it is essential not to neglect it. If not treated, the bacteria can systematically travel down to the kidney resulting in inflammation.

Further complications from rheumatic fever include a rash, damaged heart valves, and painful, inflamed joints.

What Causes Strep Throat?

The most common cause of strep throat is bacteria, usually, the group A streptococcus or Streptococcus pyogenes. This particular type of bacterium is widespread.

When an infected individual sneezes or coughs, airborne droplets can quickly spread the disease. Similar to how it can spread through shared food or drinks, it can also spread when you touch your eyes, mouth, or nose after touching a surface with bacteria, such as a doorknob.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Strep Throat?

  • Fever
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Rash
  • Throat pain
  • A headache
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen and red tonsils, and sometimes, there are pus or white patches or streaks.
  • Tender and swollen lymph nodes in the neck area
  • Tiny red spots on the hard or soft palate (This is the spot at the back of the roof of the mouth)
  • Stomach ache and sometimes cases of vomiting, especially for younger children

When Do I Need To See A Doctor?

It is essential to contact a medical professional immediately if you or your child experiences any of the following symptoms:

  • Swelling or pain in the joints, rash, fever, or shortness of breath (dyspnea) after a strep infection, even as long as 21 days after infection. Such symptoms can be indicators of rheumatic fever.
  • A sore throat accompanied by a rash.
  • A sore throat accompanied by swollen and tender lymph nodes
  • After a diagnosis of strep throat, you do not feel any better, even if you’re taking antibiotics for a day or two.
  • Difficulty swallowing and problems with breathing
  • When you notice that you have had coke-colored urine for over a week, this may be a sign of kidney inflammation.
  • A sore throat that lasts longer than forty-eight hours
  • When you or your child has a fever over 38.3 degrees Celsius and if the fever lasts for over forty-eight hours

What Are The Treatments For Strep Throat?

Several medications, usually antibiotics, are available to treat strep throat, relieve its symptoms, and prevent it from spreading.

Doctors commonly prescribe oral antibiotics such as:

  • Penicillin. When someone has trouble swallowing or vomits, this may occasionally be administered through injection.
  • Amoxicillin. Although this is a member of the same family as penicillin, children frequently prefer it since it has a better flavor and is also available in chewable tablet form.

Symptom relievers are also available:

The doctor may prescribe over-the-counter drugs to reduce fever and relieve throat pain by lowering inflammation. For example:

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol, etc.) -  Antipyretic (for fever)
  • Ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Advil, etc.) - Anti-inflammatory (for swelling)

How Can I Prevent Strep Throat?

The following factors can help avoid strep infection:

  • Cover your mouth.
  • Make proper hand washing a habit.
  • Avoid sharing personal items.
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