When it’s More Than Just a Sore Throat

DR. D art sore throat1You woke up with a small tickle in your throat. It got a little worse throughout the day, but nothing too uncomfortable, so you figured it was probably just a sore throat.

By dinnertime you are feeling warm and even though you don’t have a cough, you are feeling some tenderness in the front of your neck.

Although it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference, it sounds like your “sore throat” was actually strep.

Also known as “Streptococcal Pharyngitis,” strep is a bacterial infection. It comes with a red and swollen throat, white patches of pus and a high fever. In children, temperatures can reach 104° F. Headaches and swollen lymph nodes can also accompany the infection. In extreme cases, strep can lead to abdominal pain, vomiting and sometimes rashes.

To diagnose, doctors will check for the presence of these symptoms. The more you exhibit, the more likely it’s strep.

Likely, although not definite. To determine whether the illness is viral or bacterial, the doctor can also administer two different tests: a throat culture and a rapid antigen. For the throat culture, the doctor swabs the back of the throat and tonsils to get a sample of any secretions. This sample is tested to check for bacteria, sometimes taking two days for results. The rapid antigen test looks for strep substances on the swab, and takes less time than the traditional culture. This allows for treatment to begin more quickly. The test, though, may miss some strep infections.

It’s important to recognize strep as quickly as possible. Untreated strep can lead to complications such as rheumatic fever and immune reaction to the heart tissue. It can also cause rheumatic heart disease or kidney disease. Aggressive and timely treatment with antibiotics will greatly diminish these risks.

If strep is determined, the patient will be prescribed antibiotics, usually penicillin or amoxicillin. The prescriptions will help reduce the severity and duration of the symptoms. This ultimately lessens the risk of the virus spreading to others. In fact, the contagious period is over within 24 hours of being on antibiotics. Without proper treatment and medication, the affected person will be contagious for three days after the infection.

While on antibiotics, patients are suggested to get plenty of sleep and drink lots of water. Eating soothing foods will also help not irritate the throat: soups, applesauce, or even pureed foods are easy for those with strep.

If you are starting to feel any of these symptoms, call Dr. Schumacher at 614-299-9909 right away. A quick trip to the doctor can get you the medicine you need right away.

#MDCare4You, #sick, #sore throat

Not All Chocolates are Created Equal

DR. D dk chocolate2The next time your sweet tooth has you craving something chocolatey, reach for something that’s both good and good for you.

Dark chocolate, in comparison to other types, has added benefits to just being a tasty treat.

First, dark chocolate has a higher nutritional value than milk chocolate, since it contains more of the original cocoa. Sugar and cream are often added to milk chocolate, making it less natural and pure, not to mention adding calories. The additional cocoa in dark chocolate provides more flavonoids, an antioxidant.

These flavonoids are the basis for much of the dark chocolate advantage. Flavonoids have been found to help reduce risks of cancer and even heart disease. They provide further cardiovascular support, aiding in lowering blood pressure and hindering the effects of the bad cholesterol, LDL.

Flavonoids have also been found to increase brain function. In fact, one recent study showed elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment on a high-flavonoid cocoa diet performed better on memory, verbal and other cognitive tests than their counterparts on a diet less-rich in flavonoids.

Studies have shown that dark chocolate is more filling than other varieties. For those trying to watch their weight, but still wanting to have a healthy indulgence every once in a while, dark chocolate can provide a sweet treat, without leaving you craving and hungry for more. It also has a lower glycemic index than other types of chocolate, preventing large spikes in blood sugar.

And it won’t just fill you up, it will make you feel happier, too. It stimulates endorphin production, and has serotonin, acting as an anti-depressive and decreasing chronic fatigue. Additionally flavonoids absorb UV light, promoting blood flow to the skin, therefore improving complexion.

So, just remember: when it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. The next time you are at the supermarket, look for dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or higher. After all, dark chocolate contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, iron and potassium, making it tasty and a valuable part of healthy nutrition.

Like all foods, especially sweets, consume dark chocolate in coordination with a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and lean meats.

Dark Chocolate cake

Healthy dark chocolate recipe:

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 60 min

Other time: 0 min

 Serves: 14

Ingredients

1 spray cooking spray
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup regular butter, melted
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sauerkraut, pureed until smooth
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a Bundt pan with cooking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking soda and 2/3 cup of cocoa. Add melted butter, hot water and vanilla extract; mix well. Add sauerkraut and blend thoroughly.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan; bake in center of oven until a tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 55 to 60 minutes. Cool cake in pan for about 20 minutes and then turn out onto a baking rack to cool completely. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder before slicing into 14 pieces. Yields 1 slice per serving.

Notes

  • You can easily change the flavor of this cake by adding strong coffee instead of the hot water or adding cayenne pepper and cinnamon with the vanilla.

Weight Watcher Points: 6

Source: http://www.weightwatchers.com/food/rcp/RecipePage.aspx?recipeId=140351