Is It Strep Throat?
A sore throat is a common ailment this time of year. Sore throats can be caused by many things like allergens in the air, viruses or bacteria. While some sore throats get better on their own, some require treatment. Strep throat is one of these requiring treatment. Strep is caused by a bacteria that can be found in your throat and on your skin.
The most common symptoms of strep throat include:
*Sore throat, usually starts quickly and can cause severe pain when swallowing
*A fever (101°F or above)
*Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus
*Tiny, red spots on the roof of the mouth
*Headache, nausea or vomiting
*Swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck
Sometimes strep can live even live in the nose and throat without causing symptoms. It is spread when a person coughs, sneezes or blows their nose and the droplets get into the air. It can also be spread when sharing saliva or utensils. If you are exposed to strep, you'll usually start to feel sick within five days or so.
If you think you have strep, you should go to the doctor so they can run a simple test. If you come up positive, your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic, which will kill the bacteria. It is important to take all 10 days of the antibiotic to make sure you have treated the infection. In rare situations, untreated strep can cause bigger problems like arthritis or heart problems from a disease called rheumatic fever.
People with strep throat should stay home from work, school or daycare until they have taken antibiotics for at least 24 hours so they don't spread the infection to others.
If someone in your house has strep throat, you might get it. But following these tips can help protect you:
*Wash your hands regularly
*Cover coughs and sneezes
*Wash all utensils and dishes in hot soapy water
*Keep cuts and scrapes covered because strep can get in your skin too