Strep throat is a very common illness that occurs in all humans of all ages most often in the winter months. It is an infection of the pharynx and possibly the larynx and the tonsils. It is a form of group A streptococcal infections. Group A streptococcal infections cause such illnesses as pneumonia, tonsillitis, arthritis, meningitis, osteomyelitis, scarlet fever and sinusitis. Strep throat is the swelling of the throat and can cause pain when talking or swallowing. Some severe cases cause problems with breathing because the throat swells up so much that it cuts off the airwaves through the mouth.
The symptoms of strep throat are rash, hives, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, red and enlarged tonsils, sudden and severe sore throat, yellow and white patches in the throat, trouble swallowing and general discomfort.
Doctors can diagnose strep throat by simply looking at a patient’s throat. Doctors will also swab the back of the throat with a stick to pick up some of the mucus and test it for an infection. This is called a throat culture, which is also known as a Rapid Strep Test because the results come back within 10 to 15 minutes and are done within the doctor’s office. They are not sent to a nearby medical lab for diagnosis. If the test comes back negative and the patient really isn’t feeling well it could suggest that there is a viral infection somewhere else in the body.
If the throat culture comes back positive the patient will be prescribed antibiotics, which should have the infection cleared up within 36-48 hours. Because strep throat is contagious, patients suffering from the illness should not go to school or work for the duration of treatment. Doctors will write a note to send to school with a younger patient explaining why they missed two days of classes. Some strep throat cases can last as long as eight days.
Strep throat can be contracted through air-based germs. It can also be on infected pillow cases, toys, utensils, pens, pencils, clothing and even toothbrushes. The main antibiotic prescribed to strep throat patients is Penicillin. Once detected and treated, strep throat is not life threatening but can cause other health problems if left untreated by a patient. If they have symptoms of strep throat they should see a doctor and have antibiotics prescribed to avoid any long term problems.
Strep throat, which is caused by an infection, can also affect the blood, throat and the skin. It can also flare up herpes if the patient is suffering from herpes as well as causing scarlet fever. Some strains of strep throat can be so severe that they can cause the reduction of blood pressure which in turn can lead to lung injuries and kidney failure. Strep throat cannot be avoided because it is caused by air-born bacteria that is unavoidable and contagious. Even though strep throat is unavoidable it is still treatable. One way to try and avoid strep throat is to constantly keep washing your hands with germ killing soap.