Strep throat is an infection with group A streptococcus bacteria that causes inflammation, soreness and swelling of the throat and tonsils. Strep throat can be accompanied by fever, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain and distress. Strep throat can either have moderate or serious symptoms and it needs special care and attention in order to prevent the development of complications.
The bacteria responsible for strep throat are very contagious. Streptococcus bacteria can be easily contracted through sneezing and coughing. The bacteria are airborne and therefore good hygiene can’t effectively prevent strep throat from occurring. It is possible to get strep throat simply by breathing the same air with an infected person. Children and teenagers are often confronted with strep throat but the illness can occur in adults just as well.
It is important to note that not all sore throats are strep throats. Sore throats are caused by infection with viruses and they tend to heal very quickly. In most cases, people with sore throat don’t need any kind of medical treatment at all. Strep throat, however, needs special care and attention, as the illness can become serious. The symptoms of strep throat are usually more intense than those of sore throat and they may sometimes spread throughout the entire body (generalized state of fatigue, body weakness and muscular pain). Strep throat also needs specific medical treatment with antibiotics.
The symptoms of strep throat don’t occur right after contracting the bacteria. Streptococcus bacteria have an incubation period of around 3-4 days. Only after this amount of time the symptoms of strep throat will become noticeable. The symptoms of strep throat are usually painful and irritated throat, difficulty swallowing, inflammation and swelling of the tonsils, tenderness and swelling of the lymph nodes (the glands on both sides of the neck), fever, headache, muscular pain, fatigue, stomach pain and distress. People with strep throat have poor appetite and they feel very weak.
Serious symptoms that require immediate medical help are high fever, rash (a sign of infection with powerful bacteria), difficulties in swallowing, difficulties in breathing, intense throat pain, throat swelling and throat bleeding. If you detect the presence of these symptoms in your child, it is strongly recommended to pay a visit to a physician.
Strep throat in children requires extra parental care. The illness can cause serious complications if it is not discovered in time. Also, an appropriate treatment needs to be administered until the full remission of the illness. Even if the symptoms of strep throat may disappear in the first few days of treatment, it doesn’t mean that the infection is completely overcome. Follow the doctor’s directions and administer the suggested doses of antibiotics to your child. Make sure that you don’t stop the treatment prematurely. In order to efficiently fight bacterial infections, antibiotics should be administered for at least ten days. It is important to respect your doctor’s indications in order to prevent the reoccurrence of strep throat right after interrupting the treatment.