Strep throat is an inflammation, of the inner back of the throat. It is a common condition caused by a bacteria known as Streptococcus pyogenes, which is a bacteria belonging to a class of bactebac called streptococcus A group.
Step throats affect everyone from adults to children, it is more common among children of age group 4 and 15. It is contagious and easily spread from an infected host to another through sneezes and cough.
Causes of Strep Throat
Strep throat is an infection of Streptococcus pyogenes, also called group A streptococcus. It is highly transferable and can spread via air medium, water droplets and through sneezes and coughs.
Strep throat is also transferable through sharing of foods and drinks with an infected person. Sharing of towels, cups, spoons, stationaries with an infected person can transmit the Bacteria to your eyes, nose or mouth.
Symptoms of Strep Throat
The soreness of throat, irritations, and degree of infection vary from one individual to the other. Some may experience mild symptoms such as itching as a result of a sore throat, mild irritations and others may experience more intense symptoms such as cold, swallowing difficulty and fever.
Common symptoms of strep throat include:
1.Chills and Cold sensations
2. Red or white patches on the throat
3. Red spots on the roof of the mouth
4. Redness and painful blisters on the throat
5. Fever (101* Fahrenheit or higher body temperature)
7. Difficulty and pains in swallowing foods
8. Hypersensitivity of the throat
9. Loss of Appetite (Anorexia)
10. Nausea and vomiting
11. Swollen lymph nodes and nodes.
These symptoms are generally experienced on day 4 to 5 after exposure to streptococcus pyogene.
Diagnosis of Strep Throat
Diagnosing for strep throat depends on the intensity and frequency of the symptoms. If an individual suffers from inflammations and irritations of the throat, the doctor might be looking for a swollen node and asked for the above-listed symptoms.
Diagnosis may further be extended by the doctor to the neck, shoulders, and armpit for swelling of the lymph nodes. The doctor may also check for breathing abnormalities caused by the infection, finally, one or more of the below-listed tests may be carried out to confirm his assumptions.
1 Throat Bacterial Culture Test
This is a painless medical procedure done to confirm infection, test results may take up to two days. It is done by taking a swab sample from the tonsils and back of the neck. This sample is grown in a culture medium to identify the bacteria species which will help to prescribe the correct antibiotics.
2 Antigen/Antibody Test
For each and any antigen that enters the body, there is a specific antibody for each antigen, either one or the other can be used to test for the presence of the other. The doctor needs to culture the bacteria from the infected area by taking a swab and examining it for specific antigen or antibody produced to fight the streptococcus bacteria. This procedure is can be completed in minutes.
Treatment of Strep throat
Listed below are medications available to cure strep throat. These medications will bring about a relief in the symptoms, thereby preventing complications and spread.
Antibiotics also called antibacterials is the doctor’s first response to cure the infection since strep throat is a bacterial infection.
They inhibit the growth of the bacteria and infections and also prevent its spread. Amoxicillin, penicillin is widely prescribed and readily available for treatment of streptococcus infections.
It is important to discuss the dosage and other information about the choice of dug with your doctor. Furthermore, you need to finish the prescribed medication at the right dosage and usage frequency to kill the bacteria completely. Skipping medication when symptoms are reduced can trigger bacteria regrowth causing the infection to relapse.
Strep throat can cause pain and inflammation of the neck coupled with other earlier listed symptoms. To relieve pains you can use painkillers such as ibuprofen (Aspirin, Advil Motrin etc). If symptoms like fever and high body temperature are observed, Acetaminophen (Paracetamol, Anacin AF, Tylenol etc) will help in relieving fevers.
It is important to note that painkillers and fever medicines can be bought over the counter without a doctor’s consent, do no self-medicate, it can aggravate your situation or cause severe health implications. Always seek doctors advice before embarking on any medication.
Take a lot of rest. Sleeping is one of the natural ways your body fights infection. Take plenty of rest.
Avoid going to crowded places such as school, work or market. if you are infected with strep throat. This will prevent the transfer of the bacteria to others and allow your body the rest needed to fight the infection.
Prevent dehydration by taking a lot of water, it might be difficult to swallow solid food items, so you can drink juices and other fluids to remain hydrated.
You need to avoid smoking when you have strep throat, soft tissues in the throat can be irritated thereby leading to an increase in the risk of tonsillitis.
If you do smoke, avoid smoking when you have strep throat. Cigarettes can irritate soft tissue in the throat and cause soreness. This can increase the risk of tonsillitis.
Avoid substances with strong pungent or stingy smell such as petroleum products, sprays, paints etc.
Avoid alcohol. Alcohol has antibacterial function but can cause dehydration which increases dryness and irritation on the throat.
Home Remedies for Strep Throat
Hot herbal drinks like Ginger tea, Green tea, and white tea are filled with nutrients and herbal healing properties.
Get a cup of hot water and add a teaspoonful of table salt. Gargle this water for about 4 minutes, spit out the water. This will relieve the pain and inflammation. The water will also wash off some Bacteria.
You can also use apple cider vinegar in the treatment of strep throat, you can learn how to make an home made apple cider vinegar here.
Lick throat lozenges to soothe your throat. Avoid lozenges if you have diabetes as it contains sugars, try to chew Ginger roots.
Include herbal spice such as Tumeric, Ginger, cloves etc in your food. They have antibiotic and pain killing properties.
Your immune system needs energy to fight infections, you can keep your body nourished and energized by including smoothies in your diet.
Preventing Strep Throat
Prevention is better than cure. Streptococcus infection is highly contagious, therefore you need to take good care of yourself and others around you. Follow the tips listed below;
Wash your hand thoroughly before you eat or drink anything. Also, wash the utensils to keep them bacteria free.
Isolate infected patients to prevent transmission to other people, wash their clothing’s separately.
Infected patients should cover their mouth and nose when they sneeze or cough streptococcus can be transmitted easily through the air.
Wear a protective mask when necessary to protect yourself from getting infected.