Strep throat is among the most common ailments that affect the young from 5 to 15 years of age. It is a contagious bacterial infection that rarely affects the adults. This infection is named after the bacterium which is responsible for its occurrence and which is called Streptococcus. Another name for the strep throat is streptococcal pharyngitis since the pharynx is the organ that is affected by the bacteria.
Strep throat spreading
This infection is considered to be very contagious since the bacteria, which are in the nose and in the throat, can easily pass from the infected person to the healthy one when he/she coughs and sneezes. The infected person can spread the bacteria for about 3 weeks if the infection is not treated, while on the other side, when the person takes the prescribed antibiotics, the strep throat stops being contagious within 24 hours.
When one becomes infected by Streptococcus, he/she may experience many warning signs, such as swollen red throat, dark red spots that emerge in the throat, sore throat and swollen lymph nodes. Furthermore, the person with strep throat may have high fever, pus on the tonsils, headache and pain while swallowing. Loss of appetite, scarlet fever, nasal congestion and pain in the body may also appear as symptoms of this bacterial infection.
In most cases, strep throat is not severe since it is usually treated. However, sometimes it is difficult to distinguish it from the sore throat and common cold. While sore throat is mainly a viral infection, the common cold is accompanied by some additional symptoms like runny nose, sneezing and constant coughing.
Treatment for strep throat
When one assumes that he/she suffers from strep throat, it is recommend to immediately go to a physician in order to avoid certain complications, such as high fever and scarlet fever, for instance. The doctor will examine the patient’s throat and if he assumes that it is the strep throat, the antibiotics will be prescribed. Nevertheless, rapid strep test or taking the throat culture may also be necessary in order to be sure.
When rapid strep test is carried out, the doctor just takes cells from the throat by the means of the cotton swab and performs the testing right away. When the result is positive, then the antibiotics are given to the patient, while if the result is negative and the symptoms are those that are characteristic for the strep throat, the throat culture is taken. This test is accurate and after the result is positive, the treatment with antibiotics may start.