Are you or your child suffering from a sore throat? Viruses, allergens, bacteria, different irritants such as household chemicals, or chronic postnasal drip can be one of many things that cause a sore throat.
Though these are relatively common symptoms, stay vigilant and don’t ignore them. In most cases, it is just a common cold and gets better in a couple of days. Your throat can feel unusually soft, scratchy, and painful.
Strep throat is also a common throat infection. It is caused by a bacteria group called ‘A streptococcus,’ also known as Streptococcus pyogenes. Any age group, especially children, can get the infection. It is most common in children between the age of 5 to 15 years.
If strep throat is left untreated it can lead to health complications. The strep bacteria can spread to other body parts leading to ear infections, rheumatic fever, sinus infections, and more. (National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases 2021)
Is Strep Throat Contagious?
Strep throat is a contagious bacterial infection. The bacteria spread through the nose and throat as a respiratory droplets. For example, you can catch the disease easily if someone is sick or a carrier of Strep A bacteria and sneezes or coughs around you.
In some cases, infected people may have no symptoms or seem sick. The chances of infection are higher in large gatherings or crowded public spaces. You can also catch the infection if you drink or eat from the same glass or plate as the sick person.
What Are the Symptoms of Strep Throat?
Symptoms of strep throat include:
- Severe throat pain
- Difficulty in swallowing
- High fever
- Poor or lost appetite
- Swollen and red tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus
- Small red spots may appear on the delicate part of the palate (roof of the mouth).
- Lymph nodes in your neck are swollen or tender
- Headache and body ache
When To Seek Medical Attention
Consult your doctor if you or your child are showing symptoms for more than a few days, including:
- Frequent sore throat with painkillers not easing the pain
- High fever which is also leads to difficulty breathing
- Difficulty in breathing
- Painful swallowing
- Dark-colored urine – an indication that the streptococcus bacteria could have infected the kidneys
- If the person is immune compromised
Pregnant women should see a doctor immediately to get timely treatment if they think they may have strep throat.
A medical professional will perform a specific test for strep throat and can help you get back to good health with antibiotic medication.
Strep throat is common, and people can catch the infection more than once. Having strep throat does not make you immune from getting infected again. You can do a few things to protect yourself and others, like maintaining good hygiene, especially after coughing or sneezing and before meal prep or eating food. Dispose of used tissues properly and keep a safe distance from those with symptoms.
Keep your family protected from strep and other communicable diseases by following a hand-washing and distancing protocol. We’ve learned a lot in the last couple of years on how to keep ourselves and our families safe in dealing with COVID. Many of those same precautions translate to better health for us all, including the prevention of strep throat.
National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Division of Bacterial Diseases, Staff. “Strep Throat: All You Need to Know.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12 Jan. 2021, www.cdc.gov/groupastrep/diseases-public/strep-throat.html.
“Strep Throat: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment.” Edited by Brunilda Nazario, WebMD, WebMD, 27 Sept. 2020, www.webmd.com/oral-health/understanding-strep-throat-basics.
Newman, Tim. “Strep Throat: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatments.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 14 Sept. 2017, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/155412.