When your throat aches and burn and it became painful to swallow anything, even saliva, what comes to your mind? There is no doubting that your health is in danger. So, what’s the next thing to – visit a doctor?
A sore throat is usually caused by viral infections which are associated with common colds and flu (12 Remedies for Cold and Flu). Most sore throats are caused by viruses or side effects of infections in other parts of the nose or sinuses. It causes severe pains and will not respond to antibiotics.
Unlike strep throat, normal day-to-day sore throats have the tendency of relief without using any antibiotics. A sore throat can be caused by dry air, irritants like pollution, smoke (including car smoke, firewood smoke, cigarette smoke) and Allergies. Other symptoms of sore throat Include; runny nose, watery eyes, cough, sneezing, Post-nasal drip, and Low fever (below 101 F).
WHAT IS STREP THROAT?
strep throat is always caused by a bacterial infection. Group A Streptococcus bacteria (“Group A Strep”) infects the throat and the tonsils, and it will quickly respond to antibiotics. Group A Strep can bring about a variety of health-related challenges ranging from strep throat, rheumatic fever, scarlet fever too, even skin diseases like impetigo and cellulitis. The bacterial infection (strep throat) can also cause the devastating flesh-eating disease necrotizing fasciitis, too, which kills about one-quarter of its victims (medicinenet).
According to research, strep throat comes from a common bacterial group, Group A Streptococcus, also known as Streptococcus pyogenes. Group A strep bacteria are some of the most common disease-causing bacteria synonymous to only humans. It was also discovered that 5% to 15% of all people have the bacterium in their bodies without showing any signs or symptoms of infection. If you want to stay healthy and alive, it is vital for you to know if your infection is caused by strep so as to know the right precaution measure to take.
COMMON SIGNS OF STREP THROAT
There certain visible signs of strep throat. These are;
- White patches (pus pocket) on the tonsils or throat,
- Dark red splotches or spots on the roof of the mouth,
- A skin rash.
Medical researches show that some patients, both children and adult, may have swollen, tender lymph nodes in the neck and some with fever exceeding about 101-102 F. Children (20% – 30%) are more prone to having the disease than adult (5% – 15%). Sometimes you could be suffering from strep throat even when you have a low fever (below 101 F), so don’t be too fast to conclude.
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Strep Throat and Rheumatic Fever
Infection from strep bacteria can cause fevers to go from bad to worse. That’s one big reason why treatment with antibiotics matters so much. Without treatment, rheumatic fever can set in, usually about two weeks to a month after signs infection first appear.
Rheumatic fever is much more than just a fever—it may cause severe joint, heart, skin, and brain problems. It can damage heart valves as well. Although it continues to be a problem in the developing world, rheumatic fever is rare in the United States and other developed nations. – Medicinenet
strep throat is a communicable disease. That is, it can be passed to another person through direct contact (essentially through mouth fluid (mucus droplets, e.g. kissing.) or indirect contact (sharing common things like spoons, forks, cups, etc., that attracts mucus droplets).
You should also have it at the back of your mind that if you fail to take the right antibiotics for the strep throat infection, it will become contagious for about two to three weeks after infection. It is highly recommended that you stay home until the fever is gone or have started the necessary treatment.
DOES STREP THROAT LAST LONGER?
It takes about 2 to 5 days to fall sick after becoming infected with the virus. Thus, you can get better within the space of 3 to 5 days when you take antibiotics but it takes as long as 10 to 12 days without antibiotic treatment. You would not want to gamble with your health. An untreated case of strep throat could lead to more serious health conditions like rheumatic fever ( link to facts about rheumatic fever).
Strep Throat and Scarlet Fever
If your sore throat is associated with a fine, sandpaper-like pink rash on the skin, it could be scarlet fever, which is definitely associated with the bacteria that causes strep throat. If this occurs, see a doctor immediately. Scarlet fever can be treated with antibiotics.
- A very red, sore throat,
- Bright red skin under arms, at the elbows and in the creases of the groin,
- A “strawberry” tongue that appears red and bumpy,
- Vomiting, and
- Abdominal pain.
Long-term, scarlet fever can lead to serious health problems. These include
- Rheumatic fever,
- Kidney disease,
- Ear infections,
- Pneumonia, and
- Skin infections. – Medicinenet
CAN ANTIBIOTICS FIGHT STREP THROAT?
Yes, antibiotics can stop strep throat. This is because strep throat is caused by a bacterium, unlike the sore throat that is caused by a virus. strep throat disease is less contagious and would subside after bacteria-fighting antibiotics have been appropriately administered. Please, do not overuse antibiotics because such abuse could trigger microbes – superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics. Also, do not try self-medication or treat viral or fungal illnesses with antibiotics, it is futile to do employ such an approach.
WHEN TO USE ANTIBIOTICS
When illness attacks, what do you do immediately? Do you just assume the cause and self-medicate or schedule a meeting with a doctor? Well, you will cause more harm to yourself if you fail to do what is needful – go for a test. It is through the diagnosis that you can actually tell if you have strep throat or sore throat. In this, you will be given or prescribed an antibiotics shot to help you treat the health problem. You should ensure that you finish the treatment, even if you are getting better, so as to avoid reoccurrence of the health issue. Remember that you can still infect other people, even as you take antibiotics (e.g. amoxicillin), so protect them from further infection. How can you do this?
- Always get your hands washed.
- Make sure that you do not share your food and utensils (spoons, forks, and cups).
- Dispose of your toothbrush after treatment. This is why it is recommended that you should always change your toothbrush every 3 months.
A common adage says “prevention is better than cure”. A lot of people are facing health-related problems today because they failed to imbibe prevention rules, especially in developing countries. However, here are the ways in which you can prevent strep throat from causing you agony in life.
- Ensure you stay away from infected people. It does not mean that you should stigmatise them but just make sure that you do not do anything that would give room for the spread of the infection.
- Wash your hands with an alcohol-based solution or medicated soap or steriliser before meals. This method is advisable, not only for the sake of strep throat infection but other diseases and germs.
- When you do the hand-washing process, make sure that you’re your hands away from touching your face.
- Do not touch or handle infected people’s germy tissues. If you are one of those people who have hand-shake with someone suffering from flu and catarrh, you need to stop it. Since germs are not visible to the eyes, so it is expedient for you to be careful.
REMEDIES FOR TACKLING SORE THROAT – STREP THROAT
Seeing a medical caregiver is the best way to ease yourself of sore throat pain and discomfort. It doesn’t mean that you cannot try home remedies. But in case the symptom persists or worsen, then you should not hesitate to book an appointment with a doctor.
You can solve your strep throat with these 16 Natural Remedies.
There are ways in which you can self-medicate (home remedies). These remedies, as shown below, are essential to keep the throat moist and bring about relief.
#1 Gargle Salt Water
Gargling salt water solution several times a day. How do you prepare this? Just add salt (1/2 teaspoon) into warm water and stir for the salt to ferment. This will help loosen mucus and expunge excess fluid out of your affected throat tissue.
#2 Use Throat Sprays
Using throat sprays is another good soluble method. Throat sprays often include helpful ingredients such as anaesthetics (which reduce pain), cooling agents (which help numb pain), anti-inflammatory agents (which can help reduce swollen tissue), and antiseptic agents (which help reduce the growth of harmful micro-organisms). The sprays aid numbing the throat and reduce the pain.
#3 Take Mixed Tea
Taking tea mixed with honey is also medicinal to relieve you off throat irritation. You can also read the benefits of honey to human’s health.
Related: 8 Best Tea for Sore Throat
#4 Use Throat Lozenges and Hard Candy
Keeping your room humidified or vaporised can help ease your sore throat symptom. Do not forget that the pain and irritation of a sore throat come from having a dry throat. You have to reduce your exposure to a cold environment. A simple method to humidify or vaporise is to hold your head over hot, steaming water and cover your head with any thick cloth (towel) to allow the moist steam savour your face and breath.
#6 Warm Compression
You can use a warm compress on your neck too. How do you do this? Just soak a towel in hot water or heat up a pad or use a hot water bottle and apply to your neck. Please, take precaution so as not to burn your skin in the process.
#7 Taking Soft Foods
Taking soft and cool foods are good for keeping your throat warm. Avoid taking cold foods because it can numb the pain. Try these types of foods; Ice cream, milkshakes, pudding, and fruits (bananas, blueberries, oranges, etc.)
Always dehydrate. Dehydration helps your body fight off an infection. How do you dehydrate? The easiest way is to drink plenty of water. You can use a straw to sip the water so that the fluid can go down the middle of your throat. Stay away from citrus juices or alcoholic drinks. Alcoholic drinks will harm you the more and dry up your body, while citrus drinks have an adverse effect on swollen, tender skin.
#9 Pain Relief
Taking a pain reliever is a suitable remedy for sore throat. These drugs should be taken in accordance with the doctor’s prescription to avoid impending dangers. Also, do not give aspirin to children and teens as this can make them vulnerable to Reye’s syndrome (Link). What kind of pain relief can you use? Try these: ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), acetaminophen (Tylenol), or naproxen (Aleve).
Related: What age is safe to take aspirin?
Using decongestants sprays or pills could help out too. Postnasal drip often time cause throat irritation, which is why this method is the saving grace. What are the common sprays and pills? They include Afrin, Contac, Mucinex, Sudafed (ephedrine), and Zicam. Please, take advice from your doctor before using the aforementioned decongestants and follow the prescribed direction.
Having a particular symptom could be as a result of a prolonged health problem that was not properly treated. You may have a sore throat as a result of not imbibing a healthy lifestyle; eating good foods, dehydration, consuming too many alcoholic drinks, etc. A sore throat (strep throat) could be a sign of other health-related problems, such as;
- Mononucleosis (a sexually transmitted disease),
- Tumours in the throat,
- Meningitis, or
- Acid reflux.
Whether true or not, seeing a doctor should be the best option. You may think that it’s just sore throat, meanwhile, it’s something else. For instance, malaria comes with symptoms of cold and catarrh or sore throat – strep throat. You may probably apply self-medication because you think it’s just what the symptom showed. Alas, if the main causative agent is not properly treated, it degenerates into other health-related complications. Therefore, you should see your doctor if you have treated an ailment (strep throat or sore throat) but record no improvement within the period of 3 – 4 days. Receive healing in your body today in Jesus name (Amen).
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