When was the last time you got a sore throat? Was it accompanied by any other symptoms? Most of us dismiss a sore throat thinking it’ll get okay on its own. Read on to know when a seemingly harmless sore throat can turn into something far more serious.
1. Strep Throat – How Different Is It From Flu?
Strep throat is caused by strep bacteria. It is also the most common reason behind sore throats. It is extremely common in kids and its symptoms range from a sore throat and fever to stomach pain and swollen tonsils. These bacteria live in our nose and skin and contact with others results in transmitting the illness from one person to another. It is most commonly seen in children from 5 to 15 years. These kids also give it to their parents.
A strep throat isn’t usually accompanied by the symptoms of flu like a runny nose, cough or congestion. This is how a strep throat is distinguished from flu. A strep throat is accompanied by other symptoms like swollen lymph nodes and glands in the neck. It can also be accompanied by a rash at times.
2. Stay Home For A Day
If you contract strep throat, it is important that you avoid contact with other people as this illness is extremely contagious. Taking a couple of days off school or work will ensure you aren’t giving the infection to others. Once you’ve been on the correct antibiotics for 24 hours and no longer have a fever, then it is safe for you to go out and meet other people. If you aren’t on antibiotics, you are contagious for up to 3 weeks.
3. How Is Strep Throat Diagnosed?
Strep throat is diagnosed by a physician or an ENT doctor with a throat culture. There is also a rapid strep test that can give results within a few minutes, but isn’t as accurate as the culture which takes two days.
4. Strep Throat Definitely Needs Treatment
Strep throat is treated with antibiotics. A common drug of choice is Amoxycillin. Some strains of these bacteria can be resistant to Azithromycin. It is important to take your antibiotics as prescribed and finish the course. The symptoms of the strep throat can be managed with over-the- counter pain medication.
The longer these bacteria stay in the system the more damage they become capable of causing. If your sore throat doesn’t get cured in three to five days, it is time to go back to the doctor and have yourself checked.
The bacteria from this seemingly simple sore throat are capable of traveling to other parts of the body and cause further harm. They can travel in the blood and can cause an infection in the lining of the heart. These bacteria can also cause permanent damage to other organs in the body.
If left untreated these bacteria can also cause life-threatening illnesses like meningitis, sepsis or pneumonia. It is best to prevent their spread by visiting your doctor and getting a swab test done and nip the illness in the bud with the right antibiotics.
5. It Arrives In The Flu Season
Strep throat makes its appearance usually at the same time as flu does. It is seen more during late fall or early spring. A strep throat isn’t common in adults, but as many as 10% adults, (usually parents who’ve been exposed) also come down with this illness every year.
6. It May Be Something Else
Sometimes, even if you do have symptoms that appear to be from a strep infection, they may be from a viral infection. Usually if your sore throat lasts for a long time and isn’t accompanied by other symptoms of flu, then there is a high chance that it may be a strep throat and warrants a visit to your physician.
7. Strep Is Hard To Diagnose In Kids Below 3
In small children, this illness is difficult to diagnose as they aren’t very vocal about their discomfort. Kids below 3 may complain of an abdominal pain and being tired and refuse to eat anything. They may have a strep infection without having a sore throat or other typical symptoms of the illness.
8. Some Of Us May Be Carriers Of Strep
Some children happen to be carriers of this illness. They may have recurrent infections in a year or may be a carrier (without showing any signs of the illness but testing positive for strep). Even a course of antibiotics doesn’t clear the bacteria from their systems.