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.
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