Strep throat or streptococcal pharyngitis, is a common throat infection caused by the bacteria of Streptococcus family. This is one of the most common illnesses in childhood, but is relatively rare in adults.
What is strep throat
When the Streptococcus bacteria attack the pharynx, they cause inflammation of the throat. This leads to symptoms like sore throat, difficulty swallowing, swollen tonsils, red spots on the throat, fever, headache and fatigue.
This infection is contagious and it spreads easily from one person to another. Children are particularly prone to it and they can easily contract it from an infected child in their kindergarten or school. Strep throat is especially frequent in fall and winter, and in early springtime as well.
Because it is a painful and discomforting illness, strep throat should be treated as soon as the symptoms appear.
Treatment for strep throat
The first thing to do when the symptoms of strep throat appear is to see a doctor who will make a proper diagnosis. Strep throat can often be mistaken for flu or common cold, which is why it is important to confirm the diagnosis, through physical exams and tests. If the strep tests turn out positive, the doctor wil most likely prescribe an antibiotic and bed rest.
Penicillin is the most common antibiotic used for strep throat, and persons who are allergic to it can take cephalexin or amoxicillin instead.
As for the home treatment, two things are very important- bed rest and creating an environment in which the bacteria cannot survive. Home remedies for strep throat are many, and most of them are quite useful.
Drinking a lot of fluids is imperative. It can be plain water, juice, herbal tea or soup. Gargling with warm water, sage tea or saline solution is also effective as it helps to destroy the bacteria.
Honey and lemon juice mixture is one of the best home remedies for sore throat and it works good on bacteria infections too. This remedy soothes the soreness, reduces the swelling and inhibits the bacteria growth.
Spicy or acidic foods should be avoided, because they irritate the throat and make it even more sore.
Persons suffering from strep throat should eat healthy, with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, also garlic can help too, because it has antiseptic and antibacterial properties. The same goes for onions.
As the body tries to fight the infection, it becomes tired and weary, which is why it is important to rest and allow the body to energize and prepare for the battle.