Strep throat Symptoms

The most common symptoms of strep are a fever above 101F, fatigue, swelling in your tonsils and lymph nodes, and a bright red throat with white spots in the back. Often times people suffering from strep will also have a headache or sore stomach, and occasionally you’ll see a red rash on your skin, vomiting, lack of appetite, and body aches.

When Do Strep Symptoms Normally Appear

The symptoms of strep generally start to appear within two to five days of exposure to the bacteria.

 

What Is Strep Throat

Strep throat is a bacterial infection in the throat and tonsils. It differs from a viral sore throat in that a viral sore throat cannot be treated with antibiotics, and the symptoms are often not as bad as with strep throat.

How Do I Get Strep Throat

Streptococcal (strep) bacteria are highly contagious airborne bacteria. If you are in direct contact of someone infected with strep throat there is a good possibility that you might contract the infection. When someone with strep sneezes, coughs, or even breathes, tiny droplets containing the bacteria go into the air, where other people can inhale them.

What Strep Is Not

It’s not just a sore throat. Strep throat is caused by bacteria and in general, sore throats are not automatically strep throats. It’s also not a cold, as symptoms like coughing, sneezing, and a runny or stuffy nose aren’t generally associated with strep.

How Is Strep Diagnosed?

Doctors will do a physical exam and check for symptoms like swollen lymph nodes and a red throat, and ruling out other symptoms that could indicate a different illness. At AFC Urgent Care a rapid strep test is performed, and by rapid we mean that results are often in within 5-10 minutes. Occasionally a false negative result does occur, in which case the doctor will use his or her judgment as to whether to treat as though strep is present, or if the diagnosis isn’t clear, they may take a second throat culture and send it out to the lab.

How Do You Treat Strep

Once your doctor has confirmed that you have strep throat, an antibiotic like amoxicillin is prescribed. The antibiotics reduce the amount of time that you are contagious and help prevent the spread of the infection to other parts of your body. Without antibiotics, you may be contagious for the length of the infection, often 2-3 weeks, however most people who take them, stop being contagious 24 hours after the start of treatment. Usually an over the counter pain reliever such as Advil or Motrin is advised for relief of symptoms, as is rest and throat lozenges.

What About Natural Remedies?

As stated above, while you’re waiting for relief from the antibiotics, it can also help if you drink a lot of fluids and increase the humidity in your home. Teas with honey or licorice may also help to soothe your throat, and as with most illnesses, get the rest you need to allow your body to recover.

 How to Prevent Strep?

The best prevention against strep is to avoid contact with anybody who has been diagnosed, as it is highly contagious. Just as with colds colds and other illnesses, washing hands often, avoiding touch, avoiding sharing utensils and toothbrushes all can help prevent the spread of strep throat. Speaking of toothbrushes, get a new one if you’ve had strep — the germs on yours could reinfect you.

Who Is Most Susceptible?

Strep throat can occur at any age, but it’s most common in school-aged children and young teens. As would be expected, it usually occurs most often during the school year, when kids are in close quarters inside, and during late winter and early spring, when people are most likely to be inside in poorly ventilated rooms-which is why we are talking about it now!

What Happens If I Don’t Treat Strep?

If left untreated, strep throat can be dangerous: untreated strep can lead to kidney issues and rheumatic fever. Also, strep can spread to other parts of the body.

If you think you might have strep throat, it makes sense to come into AFC Urgent Care Hartsdale and get tested. Don’t wait for the strep bug to get you!