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Sore Throat or Strep Throat?

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Kids in Central Florida have been generously sharing Strep Throat lately. Centra Care physicians saw nearly a 70 percent increase last week in pediatric patients with Strep. Since bacteria are usually the cause, Strep cases are most often combated with prescription antibiotics.

Besides leading to serious complications, if left untreated, a person with Strep can remain contagious for upwards of three weeks – even if symptoms no longer remain.

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A Strep infection is easily spread by person-to-person contact through nasal secretions or saliva. It takes 2 – 5 days after being exposed to the bacteria that causes Strep to experience symptoms.

Symptoms of Strep usually begin suddenly. The sore throat can range from mild to severe, and may be accompanied by other symptoms including:

  • Fever that begins quickly
  • Red throat sometimes with white patches
  • General discomfort or ill feeling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tender, swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Stomach-ache
  • Nausea
  • Chills
  • Headache

So how do you know if your sore throat warrants a trip to the doctor? According to the Centers for Disease Control, you should seek medical care if you or your child has:

  • A sore throat that lasts longer than 1 week
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Excessive drooling (young children)
  • Temperature higher than 100.4° F
  • Pus on the back of the throat
  • Rash
  • Hoarseness for more than 2 weeks
  • Blood in saliva or phlegm
  • Symptoms of dehydration
  • Recurring sore throats

Only a physician can diagnose Strep by examining you and conducting a Strep test. Treatment with antibiotics not only clears the infection, but also helps to reduce complications.