Strep Throat: What Is It, Symptoms & Treatment

Streptococcal pharyngitis, also known as strep throat, is an infection of the pharynx caused by bacteria from the Streptococcus genus, especially Streptococcus pyogenes, which is easily transmissible.

Strep throat generally causes symptoms suchas intense sore throat, white patches on tonsils, difficulty swallowing, decreased appetite, and fever.

It's important for strep throat to be identified and treated as soon as possible, not only because the symptoms are quite uncomfortable, but also because of it's complications, such as kidney inflammation, and rheumatic fever, which happens when the bacteria manages to proliferate and get to other organs. 

Strep Throat: What Is It, Symptoms & Treatment

Main symptoms

The most common symptoms of strep throat include:

  • Intense throat ache, which usually appears suddenly;
  • Red, swollen tonsils with pus or white patches;
  • Difficulty swallowing;
  • Fever;
  • Headache;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Stomach ache and general body ache;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Skin rash;
  • Swollen and sensitive lumps in the neck.

People with strep throat do not normally present cough or a runny nose, which can help differentiate symptoms from a common flu.

How do you get strep throat

The group of bacteria that causes strep throat is easily transmissible when infected people cough or sneeze. This way, you can get infected if you:

  • Breathe cough or sneeze droplets;
  • Drink from the same cup or plate as a sick person;
  • Touch a surface infected with saliva droplets and the touch your face.

Symptoms of strep throat tend to appear suddenly about 2 to 5 days and normally disappear after a week, if the infection is treated properly.

Treatment options

Treatment for strep throat normally involves the use of antibiotics, such as amoxicillin or penicillin, which should only be taken according to the recommendations of a G.P. or infectious disease specialist, even after symptoms have disappeared.

The doctor may also recommend the use of anti-inflammatory medication or analgesics, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, in order to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and lower fever. There are also some tablets, that can be bought at drugstores, that have antiseptic properties, which can help relieve pain, specially before meals.

Even though it's hard to eat due to loss of appetite and throat pain when swallowing, it's important for you to eat, preferably creamy or liquid foods. That way you'll meet your nutritional needs and help fight the microorganisms, as food helps to strengthen the immune system.

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References

  • KIDSHEALTH. Strep Throat. Available on: <https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/strep-throat.html>. Access in 28 Jul 2021
  • CDC. Strep Throat: All You Need to Know. Available on: <https://www.cdc.gov/groupastrep/diseases-public/strep-throat.html>. Access in 28 Jul 2021
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