With spring comes the season of illnesses like strep throat, which is a bacterial infection caused by a germ called Group A Streptococcus bacteria . It is more common in children than in adults and makes the throat feel sore and scratchy.
While the symptoms of strep throat may vary from person to person, the most common ones include:
- Throat pain
- The throat turns red and has white patches
- Difficulty swallowing
- Sudden fever
- Swollen neck glands and tonsils
- Stomachache and even vomiting (this symptom is more common among children)
These symptoms certainly do not present a pretty picture of the infection and no one would enjoy themselves in such a situation. Due to the extreme discomfort caused by these symptoms and the associated complications, it is important to seek medical help right away. The symptoms can be relieved through a number of home remedies including:
- Drinking plenty of water; this helps with keeping the throat and body hydrated. A lubricated throat helps with swallowing.
- Drinking warm liquids to sooth the throat; warm lemon water with honey helps.
- Drinking cold liquids to numb the throat.
- Having food that is easy on the throat to prevent it from working too hard such as soups and broths, cooked cereals, and soft foods. It is better to avoid spicy foods or even acidic items such as orange juice.
- Gargling with warm, salt water several times a day.
- Using throat lozenges; care should be taken with these in the case of children because they could possibly choke.
- Having a humidifier; this can help with keeping the mucous membranes in the throat moist and relieving irritation.
- Avoiding irritants; the affected person should avoid anything that may aggravate their throat such as paint fumes and cigarette smoke.
Since no vaccine is currently available for preventing strep throat, taking steps to prevent the infection is very important.
- Persons affected should avoid contact with others until after they have been under antibiotics for 24-48 hours.
- They should also not share their personal items, such as cups and utensils. These should be washed properly with hot water before reuse.
- Keeping clean and regularly washing hands is one of the best ways of preventing any infection. Eyes, nose and mouth should not be touched without washing hands because bacteria are commonly present everywhere, such as on doorknobs, water faucets, etc.
- Children should be taught to cover their mouths when they need to cough or sneeze because this is the fastest way bacteria can travel and infect others.
- Regular exercise and a proper, balanced diet is a way to avoid illnesses since it helps keep our bodies healthy and resist infections and diseases.
A Centra Care physician can diagnose Strep by examining you and conducting a rapid strep test.