Strep throat is a colloquial term for streptococcal pharyngitis or streptococcal sore throat. It is caused by streptococcal bacteria and it often affects pregnant women.
The infection starts when a person contracts the bacteria through contact with an infected person. The bacteria then invade the mucous membrane of larynx, pharynx and tonsils. Sometimes they spread to lymph nodes. This infection causes significant discomfort and pain, especially during pregnancy.
Symptoms of strep throat
Strep throat is easily diagnosed in early pregnancy, with symptoms that resemble those of a sore throat due to cold or flu. Those symptoms in most cases include inflammation of the throat with swelling of the neck, mild respiration trouble, difficulty swallowing, coughing with ejection of white mucus, fatigue and muscle weakness, headache, fever, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, enlarged tonsils and lymph nodes in neck, sweating.
Pregnant women tend to suffer more from these symptoms because their whole body is going through changes due to pregnancy. If the above symptoms are present in a pregnant woman, she should seek immediate medical attention in order to alleviate the symptoms and prevent complications.
Treatment for strep throat in pregnancy
In order to prescribe adequate treatment for strep throat, especially in pregnant women, doctors usually do two diagnostic tests. One is throat culture test and the other is rapid strep test. They usually first do the rapid test and then confirm the diagnosis with throat culture test, which takes more time.
Caution is necessary in prescribing the treatment for pregnant women, especially in the first trimester. Some medications can seriously harm the baby and are to be avoided.
Strep throat is treated with antibiotics. Pregnant women should never take antibiotics without doctor’s advice and prescription. The antibiotics that are usually used for strep throat are penicillin and amoxicillin. Once the treatment starts, it must be followed through completely. It is not recommended to start the antibiotics and then quit as soon as the symptoms subside.
Other medications may include spray anesthetics for the pain in the throat and acetaminophen for fever.
Home remedies for strep throat
One of the best home remedies against strep throat is to gargle with warm saline solution. Saline solution is made with one cup of water and one teaspoon of salt. Salt cleans the throat and disinfects it, and makes it less a favorable environment for the bacteria.
Chamomile tea is also highly recommended. This tea soothes sore throat because it has mild analgesic action. Another good option is to make sage tea and use it for drinking and gargling. Sage is believed to have antibacterial properties.
A few spoons of the apple cider vinegar with some honey, diluted in a cup of water, is another effective strep throat remedy.
Other options include ginger tea with lemon and honey, peppermint tea, cayenne pepper and minced garlic with water and lemon tea with cinnamon.