Strep throat is a bacterial disease that harms the throat. It is an infection that causes rapid inflammation of the tonsils. This causes the throat to swell and cause irritation. Scientifically known as Streptococcal pharyngitis, this disease is highly contagious and can harm anyone from children to adults. The bacteria that cause strep throat symptoms are called Group-A Streptococcus.
Streptococcal bacteria can move in air particles and therefore are contagious. They are extremely infectious and are more likely to attack children than adults. Children’s immune systems are weaker when compared to adults. This is because their bodies have had less experience with germs. Hence, streptococcal bacteria being very contagious easily get into their bodies through many forms of contamination.
Strep throat is a very common disease and happens mostly around the time of winter. An infected person can contaminate his/her nearby surroundings. This takes place due to the dissolving of the respiratory droplets of the person. The bacteria can also attack the body from an indirect source. This may be via skin or respiratory.
What is a Sore Throat?
A sore throat is usually caused by a virus. It may be equally painful as strep throat. However, they both are distinctly different infections. You may face unbearable pain in your throat or tonsils. You can identify a sore throat by checking whether you:
- Stressed red eyes
- Runny or blocked nostrils
Let’s have a quick look at the basic differences in the table below:
Differences between Strep Throat and Sore Throat
|Strep Throat||Sore Throat|
|Caused by bacteria called Group A Streptococcus||Caused by a viral infection|
|No coughing, sneezing or experiencing blocked or running nostrils||Causes coughing, sneezing, runny nostrils and stressed watery eyes|
|Inflammation of tonsils turning the color of the throat red||Inflammation may occur but not as much as a strep and usually turns the throat sore|
|Takes two to eight days for symptoms to appear||Symptoms start appearing after the first day and even after a few hours in many cases|
Strep Throat Symptoms
Strep throat is increasingly becoming more prevalent these days. While many people confuse strep with a sore throat, they fail to identify the disease that is attacking their immune systems.
Therefore, it is essential to properly understand and identify these symptoms for better treatment. Here is a list of strep throat symptoms that you can identify yourself:
- Whenever our immune system is severely affected by a foreign object, the first sign of an unhealthy body is a high fever. A person with a strep throat will experience high fever. The fever may exceed 38.5° Celsius.
- An infected person may also experience difficulty in swallowing. This happens due to the inflammation and enlargement of tonsil glands.
- You can lose your appetite and your body may encounter physical or muscular tension which will result in stressed movements.
- Lymph nodes located at the back of the neck will enlarge and may discharge pus. Pus is a protein-rich fluid that occurs at a site of infection.
- The tonsils will turn red due to inflammation and the roof or palate of the mouth may begin to show red spots as a sign of infection. White or yellow spots may appear too in some people.
- Some can also experience severe headaches, pain in the abdominal region and nausea while having difficulty in moving muscles.
- Undergoing rigorous pain in the throat area.
Strep Throat Prevention
Strep throat is mostly seasonal and the chance of the infection increases in winter months. The disease is very contagious spreads easily in the atmosphere affecting many children and adults. However, you can take the necessary precautions to avoid a strep throat. Here are some suggestions:
- Take the necessary steps to stay safe during seasonal changes. Make sure you carry a mask and avoid dirt while traveling. Dirt is a major source of infection.
- Maintain a safe distance from a person who has an infection.
- Wash your hands if you have made contact with an infected person.
- Most germs enter our body through hands; therefore it is important to maintain a good hand wash count in order to prevent seasonal infections.
- Make sure you don’t share clothes, utensils and a bed with an infected person. It is extremely contagious and can spread very fast. Suggest the infected person use disposable paper cups and make sure they are disposed of properly.
- If you are treating an infected person, you have to be careful and responsible about your health too. It is essential to stay clear of the infection in order to treat an infected person properly and help in recovery.
- Always try to carry a hand sanitizer. It will help to prevent infection, in case any contact has been made.
- Keep yourself safe. If you think you are having any of the strep throat symptoms, you should see a doctor. Taking prescribed medication before the infection hits the immune system can actually help you recover faster.
- Take rest and avoid traveling for faster recovery. Eat warm and nutritious food to boost the immune system.
Strep Throat Treatment
Strep throat treatment starts with the diagnosis stage. If you are showing the strep throat symptoms, you should immediately visit a doctor. The doctor may perform two kinds of tests namely rapid antigen test and throat culture.
Rapid antigen test shows results of foreign antigens in a throat. The doctor will collect a swab sample from your throat and test it for further analysis. A positive test result will allow the doctor to prescribe the required medication for you and a diet chart.
A throat culture is not painful but the rubbing of a disinfected swab in the tonsils may feel a little uncomfortable. This procedure allows doctors to collect the secretions from the tonsils and nearby areas for further testing. However, a throat culture may take up to two or three days to present its results.
Doctors usually prescribe antibiotics to patients showing strep throat symptoms. Antibiotics can be very useful and they help in fast recovery. Antibiotics may have their side-effects, but they give your immune system that extra push to fight back the infection at a faster rate. Here are some basic home strep throat treatments you should consider:
- Keep your throat covered with warm clothes. The heat will help to keep the throat moist and warm. It can relieve pain and help in recovery.
- You should always prioritize occasional sipping of warm beverages, having hot soup and eating warm foods. You can also try ice creams and frozen desserts.
- Keep yourself hydrated because a dry throat will relatively pain more than a hydrated one.
- Gargling with salt dissolved in water will also help to keep your throat from being dry.
Strep Throat Remedies
Strep throat remedies are some precautions and measures that you should follow to ensure a smooth and fast recovery.
Ensure Enough Intake of Fluids
Fluids play a vital role in any kind of recovery. It is the idea of keeping your body completely free of dehydration so that the immune system can fight the infection. Whenever a body is dehydrated, medicines and the immune system will have less effect on the person and probably cause more delay in total recovery.
Here is a list of options to maintain and choose from to ensure the proper amount of fluid intake:
- Drink ginger tea. Ginger is a natural throat pain reliever. Drinking warm ginger tea will help you keep your throat hydrated as well as provide temporary relief to the pain.
- Mixing ginger, cinnamon, and peppermint for making tea are more efficient and effective. These herbs play an important role in activating the mucous membrane in our tonsils and help to keep the throat wet and hydrated.
- Drinking honey infused with lemon also helps and serves the same purpose of keeping the throat region hydrated and moist.
- Lastly, you should always gargle with some warm slat-water every thirty minutes to reduce inflammation and pain.
Maintain a Proper Diet
Maintaining a proper diet is equally essential as treating yourself with important fluids.
- Indulge yourself in hot and warm chicken soup with some fresh green vegetables and eggs. This ensures your nutrition as well as relief from throat pain and movements.
- Add some ginger, garlic and a little bit of honey to maximize the diet nutrition and hydration levels.
- Avoid eating in restaurants and junk foods to ensure no more antigens enter the body. They increase the level of infection and disrupt the functioning of the immune system.
Strep Throat Causes
The bacterium that causes Streptococcal pharyngitis is highly contagious. It can be found in polluted environments. Bacteria in moist places can contaminate until ten to twelve days. However, the bacteria that are found in dust particles are relatively less contagious.
Precisely, the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes is a Gram-positive bacteria with a very thick cell wall compared to Gram-negative bacteria. They can be found usually in moist areas.
A quick review of strep throat causes:
- Caused mainly by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes.
- A contagious disease such as this spreads even faster in populated environments.
- Spending too much time in an infected environment can make you more exposed to the infection. This is because you are constantly sharing the same breathing environment with the infected person.
- Spreads through air droplets.
- You can also get this infection when you are not washing your hands properly.
Strep Throat Antibiotics
Strep throat antibiotics are usually categorized under Penicillin-class type antibiotic. Another most common choice is amoxicillin which is very effective in the treatment of strep throat infection. However, certain people suffer from certain allergies when using antibiotics. If someone experiences allergies from a penicillin-type drug one must look for other options.
A list of drugs will be presented below which you can use for treatment purposes. Always remember to consult a doctor before self-prescribing antibiotics. It can seriously harm you or even worsen your health condition.
List of Antibiotics
Diseases like strep throat are very common nowadays. The rise in population is leading to an increase in pollution levels. This again is directly affecting the health of the people who share the toxic and polluted environment every day.
To survive and live healthily through current pollution levels globally, you have to cautious and preventive of seasonal diseases which may affect your job and other responsibilities. Therefore, it is essential to take necessary steps to prevent infections and stay away from contagious diseases.
When to see a doctor?
When you are experiencing strep throat symptoms you should get a doctor’s appointment and follow his/her prescribed medication and diet. You must always ensure to take enough rest to let your body recover from the infection. You should try to keep your throat hydrated and should consume warm fluids in timely intervals. Make a sincere effort in keeping your resting environment clean and hygienic. Be sure to use paper towels and cups for eating and cleaning purposes and always remember to dispose of them properly.
Strep throat symptoms can be really painful and it is best to get yourself checked and treated as soon as you detect an irritation. Since the symptoms are pretty clear you wouldn’t want to sit back and wait for it to cure on its own. The remedies are pretty easy and all you need is a week or two to find yourself going through proper medication and treatment. It isn’t a serious condition but can be quite disturbing. Just make sure you follow up with the doctor all the time and prompt with figuring out what your throat condition is. Now that you know how it is different from a sore throat, you will not mistake it.