How To Prevent And Treat Strep Throat

How To Prevent And Treat Strep Throat

How To Prevent And Treat Strep Throat Strep throat is caused by Streptococcus, a type of bacteria. These bacteria mainly affect the pharynx, throat and in some cases even the larynx, leading to swelling up of lymph nodes causing tonsillitis in the affected person.

Strep throat should not be confused with sore throat although the symptoms and signs are very similar in both the cases. Sore throats are specifically caused by viruses whereas strep throats are bacterial infections.

Modes of Transmission

These bacteria take about two to five days to show significant symptoms in the affected individual. When the infected person sneezes, coughs or speaks loudly, these tiny microorganisms are released into the atmosphere as minuscule droplets. People staying near the infected individuals have high chances of inhaling these droplets, leading to rapid spread of the disease. Shaking hands with the affected person is the most common mode of transmission.

Vulnerable Areas

Crowded places are hot spots for these bacteria to grow, spread and multiply rapidly. If any one member of the family gets affected, there are high chances of the entire family being affected with the infection. Children are easily vulnerable because of increased intermingling with kids from other households.

Signs and Symptoms of Strep Throat

Severe fever is observed among many patients. Nasal discharge, diarrhea, extreme irritation of the eyes with redness, runny nose, swollen lymph glands leading to tonsillitis are some of the other symptoms associated with the infection. If you observe white or/and red patches in the throat, you can be very sure that these symptoms are caused due to Streptococcus bacteria. Patches are one of the easiest ways to distinguish sore throat from strep throat related cases. Difficulty in swallowing due to inflammation, abdominal pain and nausea accompanied with loss of appetite are also observed.

Diagnosis of Strep Throat

If you observe the aforementioned symptoms in the affected individual, consult a doctor immediately to prevent rapid spread of the disease to other family members. A cotton swab will be used to collect the liquid from the throat of the affected individual.  A bacterial test will be performed. If it is positive, the patient would be administered with antibiotics for at least ten days to alleviate the condition, helping him get rid of the bacteria completely.

Point to Remember

Although the affected individual will experience immediate relief after consuming antibiotics in a day or two, it is mandatory to complete the antibiotic course. While there will be significant reduction in fever, making the affected person feel active and comparatively strong, the bacteria can still harbor in the throat. If the antibiotics are discontinued without completing the term, these bacteria will immediately attack the person again, leading to recurrence of the disease.

Steps to Be Taken

1) While it is not possible to be in an environment that is not contaminated with microorganisms, encouraging children and teenagers to maintain good hygienic practices by washing their hands frequently before and after eating are effective measures to prevent rapid spread of the disease.

2) Small children should be taught to cover their mouths and nose while coughing or sneezing.

3) Washing the infected person’s clothes separately and regularly will prevent cross contamination.

In extreme cases, the affected person might be a carrier of the bacteria without showing any symptoms. In these cases, people who are in close contact with the affected individual have high chances of contracting the infection, making this extremely contagious.

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