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What is strep throat? causes, treatment and more

Symptoms and Causes

Management and Treatment

Strep throat treatment

Overview 

What is strep throat?

Sore throat is an inflammation of the throat and tonsils. It is characterized by red, swollen tonsils, fever and a feeling of a lump in the throat. A sore throat is often due to strep throat. Streptococcus bacteria causes it and can be passed from person to person through sneezing or coughing. There are many symptoms and different treatments for strep throat that vary depending on severity.

What is strep throat? treatment and more

 
Strep throat also known as streptococcal pharyngitis is a bacterial infection of the throat caused by streptococci which are bacteria that are commonly found in the nasopharynx (the front part of your throat). Bacterial infections of the tonsils and throat cause an inflammatory response with red, swollen and tender lymph nodes in the neck and tonsil area, fever, headache and anorexia. Common medicines used to treat strep throat include penicillin or amoxicillin. In combination with antibiotics it may also include pain medicines to help control discomfort.

16 - 21% of children with strep throat get chronic (long-term) throat infections.

Symptoms:

 pain in the mouth, fever and sore throat

 Red, swollen tonsils and a lump in the neck

Treatment: 

antibiotics to reduce fever, pain and irritation usually given as a single injection. More severe symptoms may require 2 or 3 injections. Antibiotics will also treat any other bacterial infections that may be present. Antibiotics also help prevent infection from returning when it is over. If oral antibiotics do not work children will be treated intravenously instead.

 

Outbreaks of strep throat can occur in schools, nurseries and other settings where close contact is common. Unfortunately, over the counter pain relief products such as aspirin and ibuprofen are not recommended in children younger than 16 years of age unless advised by a doctor. Fever can also be reduced using paracetamol or acetaminophen for children older than 16 years of age.

Common symptoms include sudden onset of sore throat (often with fever), mild cough, muscle aches and headache. There may be swelling in the neck area and pus at the back of the throat which may need to be drained. Throat cultures will have to be taken to determine the presence of bacteria. Treatment usually involves antibiotics such as penicillin.

Treating strep throat is often a matter of timing. You can reduce the risk of complications or recurrence by treating promptly--within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms. Promptly treating a child with strep throat will also limit the spread of bacteria to others in your household, school, daycare or other facilities where your child is frequently present.

More serious episodes involve fever (fever over 100 °F or 37.8 °C), swollen glands in the neck, difficulty swallowing and sometimes vomiting. The glands may also be tender and swollen (lymphadenitis). These symptoms usually set in 12 to 36 hours after strep throat has started. A sore throat that does not go away by 24 hours suggests a bacterial infection called "strep pharyngitis".

If you have symptoms they are more likely to get worse the next day. If you miss a day or two of school or work, let your child stay home until the sore throat goes away, unless it is affecting how he feels (stridor--whistling sounds when breathing).

Complications:

 Vomiting and diarrhea: Because of fever, the body releases large amounts of fluids into the bowels (causing diarrhea) and other internal organs including the heart, brain and lungs.

 Lymphadenitis: Swollen glands in the neck area

 Croup: Usually starts with a congested feeling of the throat, often accompanied by difficulty in breathing. The child's voice may become hoarse. The child also has a high fever and can feel tired and irritable.

Treatment: Tilt the head backwards to ease breathing. Also, providing plenty of fluids to drink will help combat dehydration and make it easier for the body to fight off an infection. Reestablish a normal daily routine to make sure your child does not catch cold over this period of recovery.

If antibiotics do not work initially, your doctor may prescribe a different antibiotic. If antibiotics are effective, symptoms usually go away within 24 to 96 hours.

Other things to know:

 Most children with strep throat will recover without complications. But sometimes, a complication can occur, especially in children who have other health problems that make it hard for their bodies to fight infection.

If your child develops a fever over 102 °F (38.9 °C), or seems unable to drink enough fluids, or is throwing up all the time--seek immediate medical care.

 The symptoms of strep throat often look like those of a toothache, earache or sinus infection.

 If strep throat is caused by "group A", "group B", "group G" or "Group N" Strep throat you will need to see a specialist. These forms of strep throat are far more serious than normal types.

If your child only has a sore throat, it may be because he has another type of illness that caused it.

69-77% of children who have group A and group B strains of strep bacteria also have adenovirus in their system at the same time. This form causes what is called "strep pharyngitis".

Strep throat is highly contagious and can be transmitted to others in close contact with the infected person.

Other names:

 throat soreness, pharyngitis, strep throat, staphylococcal pharyngitis, haemophilus parainfluenzae pharyngitis, less often acute infectious pharyngitis.

When should you call your healthcare provider?

Call if:  you have had fever over 102 °F (38.9 °C), or symptoms that cannot be explained that last more than 3 days. Call also if:  you have other symptoms such as swollen glands in the neck area or difficulty swallowing that last more than 2 days.

Call also if:  you have had a sore throat for more than 1 week that does not go away by itself. Call also if:  your child is throwing up all the time.

Make sure your child gets plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take pain medicines to ease his discomfort. You can help prevent the throat infection from coming back by providing good care for your child when he is sick.

The strep bacteria can live in the nose or throat for about an hour. You can help reduce their spread by cleaning the nose, mouth and skin with warm soapy water and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Frontline is an oral medicine (sore throat) that helps kill the germs that cause strep throat. This medication is given by a healthcare provider as directed.

ParaGard

This medicine is given by injection into a muscle (intramuscularly) once a month to protect against pregnancy in women who have had pelvic infections caused by Strep bacteria.

Other meds:

Children with strep throat should not be given aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen. They can cause bleeding of the stomach and intestines (hepatitis).

Stay home from school or work if your child has fever , sore throat , irritability, vomiting and diarrhea . If your child has a fever of 101 °F (38.3 °C) or higher after 16 days of cold symptoms , he should be seen by his healthcare provider.

What is the treatment for strep throat?

Usually, your child will be treated for strep throat with antibiotics. Antibiotics are medications that kill bacteria by stopping them from making energy. The most common type of antibiotic used in the United States is a penicillin-type antibiotic called erythromycin. If a doctor thinks the antibiotics are not helping, another type may be tried.

Most children will get better on their own within 5 to 7 days without any treatment at all. They can return to school or childcare after they have recovered, without any problems.

If your child has a fever , sore throat , difficulty swallowing, or other symptoms that last more than 2 days, call his healthcare provider immediately .

If your child does not get better within 2 days of being treated with antibiotics, call his provider.

In most cases, you will be given a prescription for antibiotics to take home. It is important that your child takes all the antibiotics as prescribed!

Children with strep throat should not be given aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen. They can cause bleeding of the stomach and intestines (hepatitis). Children younger than 4 years old:  Sinusitis

Children aged 4 to 9 years who have strep throat should also not be given tylenol or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (including aspirin and ibuprofen) until after they are completely recovered.

Children aged 4 to 9 years who have strep throat should also not be given tylenol or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (including aspirin and ibuprofen) until after they are completely recovered.

Children aged 4 to 9 years who have strep throat should also not be given tylenol or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (including aspirin and ibuprofen) until after they are completely recovered.

Other things that can cause a sore throat include:  grapefruit, peanuts, raw onions, chocolate, carrots, sour milk or cheese, iron pills, and liver disease.

Keep your child's fingernails short, and choose soft fabric toys. Always supervise your child when he is playing with toys or other objects such as pencils.

Make sure you get your child's tonsils out ("tonsillectomy") by the time she is 7 years old to prevent strep throat from happening.  They are not likely to have strep throat after having the surgery because their tonsils have been removed.

If your child has had a sore throat for more than 1 week that does not go away by itself, call his healthcare provider .

If your child has had a sore throat for more than 1 week that does not go away by itself, call his provider .

In most cases, you will be given a prescription for antibiotics to take home. It is important that your child takes all the antibiotics as prescribed!

Children younger than 4 years old:  Sinusitis

Children aged 4 to 9 years who have strep throat should also not be given tylenol or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (including aspirin and ibuprofen) until after they are completely recovered.

What is the treatment for sinusitis?

Ribavirin is used in people with HIV/AIDS to treat a certain type of lung cancer. It is not used to treat the common cold.

Research has not found that this medication is useful for treating any part of the common cold.

Other things that can cause a sore throat include:  grapefruit, peanuts, raw onions, chocolate, carrots, sour milk or cheese, iron pills, and liver disease. Keep your child's fingernails short, and choose soft fabric toys. Always supervise your child when he is playing with toys or other objects such as pencils . Make sure you get your child's tonsils out ("tonsillectomy") by the time she is 7 years old to prevent strep throat from happening.  They are not likely to have strep throat after having the surgery because their tonsils have been removed. If your child has had a sore throat for more than 1 week that does not go away by itself, call his healthcare provider . If your child has had a sore throat for more than 1 week that does not go away by itself, call his provider . In most cases, you will be given a prescription for antibiotics to take home.

 

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