Strep – throat

Strep -throat is a very common bacterial infection of the throat. This is mainly caused by group A streptococcus bacteria. These GAS bacteria are responsible for the inflammation and pain in the throat, which we called strep- throat.

 

What is GAS?

GAS ( group A streptococcus ) is otherwise known as streptococcus pyogenes. These bacteria are extremely contagious. Basically they are located in the throat and tonsil.

 

What is strep throat?

Strep- throat is nothing but the small portion of sore throat . it is very common in children between 5 to 15 yrs of age. It is very rare in adults. 

 

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Strep throat in children

 The children of the age between 5-15 are very much vulnerable to strep-throat. They are more susceptible than adults because of their lower immunity. Their immune system have had less experience of germs

These GAS bacteria are very dangerous for children. They are responsible for a rare condition called pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with group A streptococci.(PANDAS).

 

Causes

 

  • GAS(group A streptococcal bacteria) are the main victim of strep-throat. They are spread through airborne droplets.
  • It can  spread via coughing and sneezing.
  • If you kiss a strep infected person.
  • If you share some personal items like toothbrush, spoon, glass, fork with someone having strep-throat.
  • If you share food and drinks with the person who has strep.
  • If you touch your eyes, nose, mouth after being exposed to GAS bateria. 

 

Mode of transmission

 

  • Strep bacteria like streptococcus pyogenes are most likely to be transmitted by direct person-to-person contact.
  • This type of transmission takes place through saliva or nasal secretions from an infected person.
  • These bacteria transmit to others like asymptomatic pharyngeal carriers.
  • But, in some crowded places like schools, day care centers or military training centers, the risk of transmission is very high.
  • In group A strep infections, humans are the primary reservoir. The droplets that are come out from the strep infected human , responsible for the strep-throat.

 

Incubation period

 The incubation period for strep -throat is approximately 2-5 days after the person being exposed to strep bacteria.

 

Risk groups

 

  • Children of 5-15 yrs of age
  • Somehow the adults also come in this risk group , like parents of school-aged children.
  • Adults who are often in contact with children 
  • The person exposed to the friends or family members having strep infection.
  • People living in crowded situations like school, military barracks and day care centers.

 

Signs and symptoms

 

There are some common sings and symptoms , suggest you are having a strep throat instead of normal; illness.

 

  • A sudden fever with chills( 101 c or higher)
  • A headache
  • Sore throat
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • A loss of appetite
  • Tiny, red spot on the roof of the mouth on the soft or hard palate
  • Red and swollen tonsil 
  • White patches or streak of pus visible on the tonsil and the area around it.

 

Others

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Rashes ( strep throat with rashes also known as scarlet fever or scarlatina)
  • Stomach pain etc..

 

Diagnosis

 Some diagnostic tests like rapid antigen test and throat culture are performed.These tests can clearly identify if it’s a strep throat infection or something else.

 

Rapid- antigen test

 

This test can be performed by collecting a swab sample from your throat. It can detect the strep bacteria. The  substances (antigen) collected from the throat helps the physician to find out the correct reason. 

 

The test procedure is very simple and lasts for a few minutes. First of all , the doctor will gently press your child tongue with a tongue depressor. Then, he will insert the cotton swab to the back of the throat. Lastly, collect the sample.

If the test result is negative with some suspicions. Then, you should go for throat culture .

 

Throat culture

Throat culture is otherwise known as strep throat test . In this test physicians will take the sample from the throat and tonsil. A sterile swab is rubbed over the tonsil and throat surface. Throat culture may take 2-3 days.

 

How to diagnose a strep throat?

  • A sore throat that shows white patches
  • Dark,red spotless or spots on the tonsil, hard palate and soft palate.
  • Pink rash over the skin of throat
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • A sore throat with white patches
  • A sore throat that last longer than 2-3 days

 

Treatment

 

  • The problem like sore throat goes on itself. It doesn’t need a bucket of medications. But, somehow the OTC medication may help you to get rid from the symptoms.
  • Antibiotics therapy is mainly prescribed by the physician . 
  • Antibiotics like penicillin or amoxicillin are recommended for the people who are not allergic to penicillin.
  • Studies show that antibiotics are more effective than normal pain killing OTC medications.
  • It is used when the chances of bacterial infection are very high and immunity is very low.
  • It is proved that after taking antibiotics the people are less contagious within 24 hours.
  • Antibiotics are also given to the patient who is having the history of heart disease and rheumatic fever.
  • Also the person having repeated bacterial throat infections, antibiotics are given to them.

 

Complications

 

There are strep bacteria may spread causing infections as well as inflammation in ;

  • Tonsil(peritonsillar abscess)
  • Sinuses(sinusitis)
  • Skin(guttate psoriasis)
  • Blood 
  • Middle ear
  • kidney(post streptococcal glomerulonephritis)

 

Prevention

 

  • Wash your hands or sanitize with alcohol based sanitizer.
  • Use a mask or napkin to cover your mouth.
  • Don’t share your personal items.( toothbrush, fork, spoon, food , drinks)
  • Maintain a distance from the person who looks or sound sick.
  • Take all the medications prescribed by your doctor to eliminate the strep- throat.
  • Take leave from your school or work for at least a day after you start taking medications.
  • After taking antibiotics for 2-3 days , don’t use the previous toothbrush. Go and get a new one.
  • Don’t smoke , it  may irritate your throat .
  • Warm drinks can help to relieve strep throat symptoms.

 

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