Strep throat – symptoms, causes, treatments, and precautions

Carrying about our daily tasks is difficult enough without illnesses, and more so when we start feeling weak all of a sudden with a sore threat and difficulty in swallowing. In all possibility, it is just strep throat. Strep throat is the most common cause of sore throat in kids and teens, however adults are equally vulnerable. Whether you have it, or your kid is suffering from it, it is essential to have ample amount of knowledge on this common ailment, recognise it, and have it treated as soon as possible.

Causes and signs:

The cause of strep throat is a bacteria known as Streptococcus pyogenes, also known as group A streptococcus. This bacteria causes inflammation and swelling of the mucous membranes lining the back of the throat and the tonsils. Though strep throat is not dangerous on its own, it is highly contagious.

The bacteria is communicated easily when someone with the infection coughs or sneezes, or through shared food or drinks. When a person is suffering from a sudden fever (101˚F or higher) along with a sore, red throat with white patches, in majority cases the patient is diagnosed with strep throat. Other symptoms that indicate towards strep throat are headache, chills, loss of appetite, swollen lymph nodes in the neck and most importantly trouble swallowing. In some cases however, some individuals may be carrying this bacteria and exhibiting no symptoms at all.

How is strep throat treated?

A doctor is most likely to prescribe you medication to cure strep throat. Oral antibiotics along with symptom relievers are proved to be most effective to reduce the intensity of symptoms and prevent the spread of the bacteria. A day or two post taking medication the person should start feeling better, but if symtoms are not relieved after 48 hours, call on your doctor again. In the meantime, it’s time to rest, drink lots of liquids, gargle with warm salt water and not to miss out on your meals. Keep hands clean and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze so that the bacteria you have contracted is not spread further.

Take precaution:

Through close contact, the strep bacteria can be transferred easily. Stay away from people who look or feel ill. Avoid sharing any personal items with them like spoon, toothbrush, food or drinks. Use alcohol based hand sanitizer to wash your hands, and always clean hands before you eat!

However, its always bad luck to be sick and if you do get strep throat, make sure you complete the course of your medicine, take leave from work or studies and stay away from close contact with anyone!

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