A case of strep throat shouldn’t be dismissed as a standard cold, as the bacteria can quickly take on a life of its own – so what is it, and how do you spot it?
While most sore throats are caused by a virus, a case of strep throat is directly linked to a particular bacteria known as streptococcus pyogenes. The infection is usually found in school aged children and can spread like wildfire as it’s highly contagious.
If left untreated, a case of strep throat can lead to serious complications that can include scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, an abscess next to a tonsil, and even kidney problems. Strep bacteria is generally linked to a third of all sore throat cases in children, but the good news is that a round of antibiotics usually gets it under control.
What Are The Symptoms Of Strep Throat?
If your little one has noticeably slowed down or complained about a sore throat, it may be worth considering the other indications that it might be strep. Symptoms can include:
- Noticeably sore and red throat
- Inflamed tonsils which may have white marks
- Fever or chills
- Muscle aches and pains
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen or tender lymph nodes in the neck
How Is Strep Throat Transmitted?
Strep throat is notoriously contagious and is primarily found in children over the age of two all the way through to teenagers. As the bacteria that causes strep throat likes to “hang out” in the nose and throat region, normal activities like sneezing, coughing or even shaking hands can easily spread an infection.
While good hygiene practices can assist in keeping it at bay, transmission can occur before or after the primary symptom of a red sore throat isn’t visible. Encouraging kids to wash their hands frequently can assist in avoiding a case of strep throat.
How Is Strep Throat Treated?
If your doctor suspects a case of strep throat, antibiotics are usually prescribed to fend off the infection via a quick test of the bacteria and fluids found at the back of the throat. Although the symptoms of strep can disappear in as little as 24 hours after treatment, it’s important to take the full course of the medication, otherwise the infection may come back.
To make your child comfortable while you wait for the infection to pass, other measures available to combat strep throat can include:
- Keeping up the fluids – drink clear soup and lots of water
- Gargle warm salty water
- Suck on lozenges
- Rest their voices and avoid talking
- Put warm compresses on their throat and neck
- Avoid cigarette smoke at all costs
If you think your child may have strep throat, it’s important to speak to a doctor to obtain a course of antibiotics. Failure to do so could lead to other infections and complications, so it’s important to nip it in the bud.
Online telehealth services like 13 Doctor can provide assistance in navigating symptoms, and provide access to a medical professional from the comfort of your own home. With appointments available seven days a week, making a conscious effort to stay on top of your health has never been easier.