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Strep Throat: More than just a sore throat

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Try as parents may, germs and school-aged children seem to go hand in hand.

Typical illnesses like the cold and flu can easily make their way from classroom to classroom. However, other infections like strep throat, can occasionally make a surprise guest appearance.

Sore Throat or Strep Throat
Because the primary symptom of strep throat is a sore throat, some parents may assume that an old fashioned sore throat is in fact, strep.

As anyone who has dealt with the infection can attest, the throat pain from strep is quite severe. In addition to the throat pain, a person with the condition can also experience:

Fever that begins suddenly
Red throat, with white patches
General discomfort or ill feeling
Loss of appetite
Tender lymph nodes in neck
Difficulty swallowing
Stomach ache

One of the key things doctors look at when diagnosing strep is the absence of a cough. If the symptom is not present, then a strep test may be requested to confirm the diagnosis.

How it Spreads
Strep throat is spread mainly through person-to-person contact via droplets from a cough or sneeze. And just like a virus, the bacteria that causes strep can survive on surfaces – making the condition very contagious, especially in kids between the ages of 5 and 15.

Once exposed, it takes a 2 to 5 days for symptoms to appear.

Because the condition is caused by bacteria, antibiotics are often prescribed. Once treatment has begun, most kids start feeling better within a day of taking antibiotics and will no longer be contagious after 24 hours of taking the medication.

In addition to combating the infection, antibiotics are also useful in helping to prevent strep-related complications like rheumatic fever or kidney damage.

When it comes to preventing strep throat, avoiding touching your nose and mouth is just as important as washing your hands.