What is strep throat?
- 1 What is strep throat?
- 1.1 Who gets strep throat?
- 1.2 What are the symptoms of strep throat?
- 1.3 What are the causes of strep throat?
- 1.4 What are the risk factors of strep throat?
- 1.5 What are the complications associated with strep throat?
- 1.6 How long does strep throat last?
- 1.7 What tests diagnose strep throat?
- 1.8 What is the treatment for strep throat?
- 1.9 Symptom relievers for strep throat
- 1.10 When to see a doctor for strep throat?
- 1.11 Using Z-Pak to treat Strep throat
- 1.12 What is the difference between tonsillitis and strep throat?
Strep throat is an infection of the soft palate and tonsillar region. It is caused by the member of the family of Streptococcus bacterial family.
Who gets strep throat?
Young children and adolescents are more prone to get this infection. However, it can also occur in adults and toddlers as well. This condition is highly contagious and is frequently spread in the winter season. The age of a person or children can determine the severity of the signs and symptoms of the strep throat. Adults are less affected as compared to children.
What are the symptoms of strep throat?
After acquiring the strep infection, the symptoms develop between 1 to 4 days in a normal person. Strep infection is a kind of infection which shows mild to severe symptoms. Strep throat is usually associated with sore throat, painful, red, and swollen neck from the back side. Lack of adequate fluid intake can also lead to dehydration which may result in painful swallowing.
Alone symptoms of strep throat are not beneficial in diagnosis of severity of the condition sometimes. A viral infection that causes sore throat or strep throat can have overlapping symptoms sometimes. However, presence or absence of the some given below can confirm the presence of strep infection.
In general, the common signs and symptoms of strep throat include the following:
- Sore throat
- Red and swollen inflamed tonsillitis
- Swollen and tender lymph nodes on the sides of upper neck (cervical lymphadenopathy)
- White patches or spots on the tonsils (tonsillar exudates)
Individuals with strep throat can experience other associated signs and symptoms as well, which may include any of the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fatigue and discomfort
- Anorexia (loss of appetite)
- Red spots on the soft palate
- Scarlet fever (skin rashes)
Other symptoms that are considerable by a doctor are runny nose, cough, hoarseness, eye redness, ulcers in mouth, diarrhea, muscle aches etc. These are some symptoms which indicate a viral infection. Strep throat is an infection which can occur in any age but it is more common in 5 to 15 years of age. Consequently, strep throat can sometimes manifest differently depending on the age of the affected individual, and special considerations must therefore be taken into account.
- Strep throat in infants is uncommon. Infants appear fussy and irritable and hardly eat anything. A fever and nasal discharge may be present as well.
- Strep throat in children is common and children will often complain of sore throat and painful swallowing. They also may eat less and complain of abdominal pain.
- Strep throat in older children and teenagers can be extremely uncomfortable. Some people of this age complaints about sore throat, pain in swallowing, and high fever.
- In adults, strep throat shows milder symptoms and they can complain about mild sore throat. Other severe symptoms may be present in few adults.
Occasionally, some people develop bad breath also called as stinky tonsils, when white deposits on and in tonsils develop. These deposits are often dislodged when the patient coughs, but in some individuals food particles get trapped and bacteria attack the food particles and produce the bad odor. Removal of these deposits may be done by a qualified healthcare professional.
What are the causes of strep throat?
Streptococcus pyogenes is the main and most prominent cause of strep throat. It is also known as group A streptococcus.
What are the risk factors of strep throat?
Several factors can increase your risk of strep throat infection:
- Strep throat is most commonly occurs in children, therefore the main risk factor is age, you should keep your child protected from such infections.
- Strep throat can occur at anytime. Late spring and early spring is the most prone season of the year to get this infection. Close contact is also flourishes strep bacteria.
What are the complications associated with strep throat?
Although strep throat isn’t dangerous, it can lead to serious complications. Antibiotic treatment reduces the risk.
Spread of infection
Strep bacteria may spread, causing infection in:
- Middle ear
Strep infection may lead to inflammatory illnesses, including:
- Scarlet fever, a streptococcal infection characterized by a prominent rash
- Inflammation of the kidney (post streptococcal glomerulonephritis)
- Rheumatic fever, a serious inflammatory condition that can affect the heart, joints, nervous system and skin
How long does strep throat last?
Two to five days are usually needed by the strep throat to get better. Once you started taking the antibiotics, you may start feeling better on very first day. First 24 hours are most crucial when it comes to contamination. Even after starting antibiotics, it remains contagious for initial 24 hours. You should stay away from the people or the public area for initial 24 hours of infection. You can also consider staying at home for some time in order to prevent other from getting infected.
What tests diagnose strep throat?
Strep throat can be diagnosed with the help of two significant tests. They are RADT (rapid antigen detecting test) and Throat culture
Rapid strep test (RADT) for diagnosing strep throat:
In this test, doctors, usually use a “Rapid strep test kit” in order to determine the presence or absence of strep bacteria. A throat swab is collected from the back of the throat and tonsils. It should be noticed that a course of antibiotics prior to the Rapid strep test can interfere with the results and it may show the false negative test. The sample from the swab is tested and I may take up to 10 minutes. Rapid strep test shows 75% to 90% accuracy in determining the presence of strep bacteria. When Rapid strep test shows negative results it should be confirmed with the traditional throat culture, which may take few days to get the results. Residual dead bacteria in the patient may allow a positive result.
Throat culture for diagnosing strep throat:
In test also, a swab from the back of the throat and tonsils are obtained by a doctor and taken for diagnosis of the strep bacteria. This test is more accurate than the rapid strap test. In the absence of the strep bacteria, it takes usually 24 to 48 hours to confirm the presence or absence of the group A strep bacteria.
Blood test for diagnosis of strep infection:
Blood test for diagnosis of strep infection is different than rapid strep test and throat culture. In case, the doctor wants to diagnose if a patient has a history of strep infection, he will conduct a blood test. There are two types of blood tests are available in such case which are ASO (antistreptolysin O) titer and Anti-DNase titer. These tests may be recommended when evaluating a patient who may have developed delayed complications such as rheumatic fever or glomerulonephritis after a strep throat infection.
What is the treatment for strep throat?
Medications are available to cure strep throat, relieve its symptoms, and prevent its complications and spread.
Antibiotics for strep throat
An oral antibiotic is usually prescribed in case of strep throat. The antibiotics within 48 hours of onset of illness are considered beneficial in reducing the pain, duration and intensity of the symptoms. The on-time administration of antibiotics also prevents the chance of further complications and its spread to others. The antibiotics start showing its affect in first day or in first two days to the max. If you or your child did not seek any relief after taking antibiotic medication for 48 hours, you should call your doctor. If your child has strep infection and he is on antibiotics course, your doctor will prescribe him/her some antibiotic syrup. After disappearance of symptoms of fever and strep infection, you can send your child to the school as they are no longer contagious after 2 days. You must be sure that you and your child finish the antibiotic course. As early cessation of medication can lead to serious complications such as rheumatic fever and kidney inflammation. .
Symptom relievers for strep throat
A throat pain, fever can be treated with the help of over the counter medications such as Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen.
Precautions should be taken while giving aspirin to the kids or teenagers. Though aspirin is approved for use in children older than age 3. Children and teenagers should be never given aspirin if they are recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms. Aspirin is usually avoided because it is linked to Reye’s syndrome, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition, in such children.
When to see a doctor for strep throat?
Strep throat infection usually comes with many complications. If you are suffering from fever above 101’F and you see pain and strep infection symptoms, you should seek the help of doctor. A bacterial infection can also be a reason of high fever. Other parts of the body may also get affected due to the bacterial infection such as ear, and blood (in severe cases). Strep infection can lead to more severe illness such as inflammation in some parts of the body. For example:
- Kidney inflammation
- Rheumatic fever, an inflammatory condition that can impact a person’s heart and joint health
- Scarlet fever
Immediate treatment is necessary for strep infection because it can lead to severe symptoms and medical conditions. You should never consider strep throat as a tonsils infection because it is far more different and complicated than tonsillitis.
The symptoms of the irritated throat cannot be treated with antibiotics. And in case of bacterial infection, fever medications will not be able to treat the condition and it may affect the capability at work. If you are taking antibiotics for bacterial infection and does not find any relief within first two days then you should consult your doctor.
Using Z-Pak to treat Strep throat
When you are suffering from a strep throat, it is necessary to get yourself treated with an antibiotic. Z-Pak is a form of medication that contains the antibiotic azithromycin. There may be many antibiotics that are used to treat upper respiratory tract infections such as amoxicillin but if your doctor found Z-Pak (azithromycin) suitable for you, he may prescribe you a generic azithromycin or a Z-Pak. Z-Pak contains a specific number of tablets that you would take as two tablets on the first day, followed by one tablet daily for four days. A Z-Pak typically takes at least five days to fully work; however, it will start showing improvement in first dose only. The symptoms will be vanished in next 3 to 4 days. Azithromycin can also cause some common side effects such as diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and headache. Therefore it is always recommended that you should not take this medication without the prescription of your doctor. Also you should talk to your doctor regarding its possible side effects.
What is the difference between tonsillitis and strep throat?
A patient suffering from strep throat and tonsillitis can also see the similar symptoms which makes it difficult to diagnose by a doctor. Such as large, tender lymph nodes are seen in the neck in both the conditions, similarly there is headache, pain and difficulty in swallowing, and a sore throat is common in both. Strep throat is different than tonsillitis and the differences are given here:
- In tonsillitis, there is redness and swelling in the tonsils whereas in strep throat there are small red spots is developed on roof of your mouth.
- In tonsillitis, a patient may suffer from fever that is not usually very high, whereas in strep throat, the fever can reach up to 103’c or more.
- A stiff neck is common symptom of tonsillitis whereas body aches are more common in strep throat.
- A patient may suffer from upset stomach in tonsillitis whereas in strep throat, one usually suffers from nausea and vomiting (in kids)
- One can see white or yellow discoloration around your tonsils where in strep throat swollen, red tonsils with white streaks of pus are more visible.