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How to spot signs and symptoms of Strep Throat

How to Spot Strep Throat  

If you’ve ever had a sore throat that feels like it’s never going to go away, there’s a good chance you had strep throat. Strep throat is one of the most common bacterial infections in the country, and it primarily affects the throat and tonsils. It’s caused by a strain of bacteria known as group A streptococcus and causes inflammation, irritation, and pain in the throat.  

The good news about strep throat is that it’s easy to diagnose and usually resolves on its own. However, the road to recovery can be uncomfortable and take up to a week. Therefore, even if you’re certain that you have strep throat, it’s a good idea to have your condition diagnosed and treated at a local, easy-access urgent care clinic. 

Signs and Symptoms of Strep Throat 

The first thing that most people notice when they have strep throat is that their throat is very sore and scratchy. These feelings are worse when you swallow, speak, or cough, but they are always omnipresent. Besides a sore, scratchy throat, here are a few other signs and symptoms of strep throat. 

  • Fever and flu-like symptoms  
  • Body chills  
  • Body aches  
  • Stomach aches and pains 
  • Vomiting  
  • Nausea  
  • Terrible headaches  
  • Swollen lymph nodes  
  • Skin rash  

 Causes and Risk Factors 

Bacteria known as group A, Streptococcus cause strep throat infections. Unlike other causes of a sore throat, which often stems from a viral infection, bacteria cause strep throat.  

Once you get infected with strep, it is highly contagious and can easily spread to others. It is transferable through saliva and mucous and often gets passed through coughing, sneezing, or touching your nose or mouth, and then it becomes a household object that is later touched by someone else.  

While strep throat can happen to anyone at any age, it’s especially common in children and teenagers. This is because they’re in school settings where infectious diseases spread like wildfire and because they aren’t as conscious of germs as adults.  

How is Strep Throat Diagnosed? 

The one good thing about strep throat is that it’s easy to diagnose. Therefore, if you think you might have strep, go to your local urgent clinic so that they can diagnose you using the following method.  

  1. First, your doctor or nurse practitioner will perform an evaluation where they ask you about your symptoms.  
  1. The examination will also include a check of your lymph nodes and tonsils to see if they are swollen.
  1. If so, they will administer a rapid quick strep test, which consists of swabbing your throat to check for group A Streptococcus bacteria.  

If the strep test is positive, you will need to start treatment immediately while quarantining in a safe place so that you don’t spread the infection to others.  

Potential Strep Throat Complications

Although it’s painful, strep throat is usually limited to being a sore throat and nothing more. It typically runs its course in three to seven days and doesn’t cause any lingering side effects. However, in rare cases, untreated strep throat can turn into rheumatic fever, which causes kidney damage, joint problems, and heart issues.  

Treatment and Management

Most times, strep throat will run its course and go away on its own within a week. However, because of the dangerous complications that strep can lead to – rheumatic fever and kidney problems – it’s important to receive treatment for your condition.  

Because it’s a bacterial infection, you will need antibiotic medications to kill the bacteria that is causing strep throat. Besides taking away your condition faster than it would pass on its own, antibiotics also kill the dangerous bacteria that can lead to rheumatic fever. Most times, penicillin or amoxicillin is the antibiotic of choice.  

People with strep will also need to quarantine and stay away from other people until the disease passes. During that time, you will probably benefit from home remedies like gargling salt water, taking over-the-counter pain medications, getting plenty of rest, and staying hydrated.  

How Can an Urgent Care Facility Help?  

While you have the option of going to a hospital or ER, you can have strep throat diagnosed and treated at Anderson Walk-In Medical Clinic. The healthcare professionals at Anderson Walk-in will perform a rapid strep test, confirm a strep diagnosis, and administer antibiotics immediately. Take the antibiotics for one to two weeks continuously to eliminate strep and prevent spreading it to others.  

References

Cleveland Clinic: Strep Throat
Mayo Clinic: Strep Throat, Symptoms and Causes
CDC: About Strep Throat
WebMD: Signs and Treatment

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