Strep throat is an infection involving the throat and tonsils that is caused by Group A streptococcus. The condition can spread from one individual to another quite rapidly, particularly among family members. Always bear in mind that it is common among school-age children but also among adults.
Strep throat is considered rare and capable of triggering serious conditions such as rheumatic fever which is a disease that can damage the heart valves. It is vital that strep throat is properly diagnosed and treated. With proper care, strep throat is typically subsides within 10 days.
What are the indications of strep throat?
The symptoms of strep throat include the following:
- Reddened tonsils with white spots on them
- Sudden sore throat
- Pain while swallowing
- Diminished appetite
- Swollen neck glands
- Abdominal pain or cramping
Always bear in mind that strep throat can spread via close contact with an infected individual and sharing of personal items with an infected individual.
It is best to set an appointment with a doctor if the symptoms indicate strep throat. The child is carefully examined and a strep test or throat culture is required. Take note that viral conditions usually have similar symptoms as strep throat. With this in mind, it is vital that a throat swab is carried out to confirm the presence of the strep bacteria in the throat.
Close look on a strep test
The strep test works for checking the presence of streptococcus bacteria in the throat. The test is relatively painless and only takes little time. The tip of a cotton swab is wiped at the back of the throat and then taken to the laboratory for testing.
The rapid strep test usually takes approximately 20 minutes. If the test yields a positive result, the individual has strep throat. If negative, the doctor will send the throat swab to the laboratory to further check the results. In some cases, a rapid strep test is not needed and simply sends the throat swab to the laboratory.
Strep throat can be managed with antibiotics. Antibiotics work by eliminating the bacteria that started the infection. The antibiotics are usually taken orally or given as a shot. Amoxicillin and penicillin are the commonly used antibiotics to manage strep throat. Other types of antibiotics are given to those who are highly sensitive to penicillin.
The doctor will provide the child with a shot or prescribe antibiotics in liquid or oral form. The oral pills or liquid are usually taken for 10 days. Just follow the instructions given by the doctor. The child should take all the medications even if he/she starts to feel better. Remember that the bacteria might still be alive even if the child already feels okay.
As for the pain, there are measures to help reduce it such as drinking soothing liquids such as warm tea and a pain medication such as acetaminophen.