There are many ailments, which can be overwhelming, painful and downright debilitating. Strep throat would most certainly align itself with this category. The condition can put you out of commission for an extensive period of time and require you to relax, until you’ve fully recovered. You will also want to stay away from others, because strep throat is contagious and can easily be passed from one individual to the next. Within this comprehensive guide, you will learn everything you need to know about this ailment.
What is Strep Throat?
Strep throat is linked to the streptococcus bacteria. While it more often affects children than adults, it can leave devastating effects on all victims. It is important to have this condition treated appropriately, because it can lead to more serious conditions. Strep throat can often follow the common cold, sinusitis, and ear infection. Tobacco smokers and individuals that suffer from chronic respiratory diseases will more often present with this infection, because their immune system is weaker.
Notable Symptoms of Strep Throat
In order to positively identify the presence of this condition, you will need to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of the bacterial infection. For your consideration, the most notable symptoms will be listed below.
• A nagging fever, with temperatures over 101 degrees Fahrenheit
• An immensely painful sore throat
• Intense pain, when swallowing
• Inflamed lymph nodes and tonsils
• Yellow or white spots at the back of your throat
When suffering from this complication, you may also feel nausea or an upset stomach. A nagging headache will also be very likely. Some will experience a red rash, vomiting and lack of appetite, but these symptoms are far less common.
In order to get a genuine diagnosis, you will have to undergo some diagnostic testing such as the strep test. This is a test that consists of swabbing the back of the throat. While it is very unpleasant and causes mild pain, you will be happy to know that it can be conducted in the physician’s office.
You will not receive the results of the test back on the same day that it was conducted, unless you visited your local emergency room. The physician will use a pen light to look at the throat to see if it is inflamed and edematous. While you are waiting for your results, you will be treated with antibiotics. If the results do not come back as being strep throat, you will be prescribed another form of antibiotic that is effective in treating your condition.
How Long Is Strep Throat Contagious?
If you’re suffering from this infection, you should know that strep throat is moderately contagious. Generally, it is passed from individual to individual by direct contact. The most common culprits are airborne droplets and saliva. Those living within close proximity of the infected will be at a much greater risk of also being impacted by strep. Living with an infected individual will generally give you a 40% chance of contracting the infection.
The majority of infectious disease specialists tend to believe that strep throat isn’t contagious for the entire duration. Instead, they believe that it’ll remain contagious for at least 24 hours. After this period of time has passed, the chance of passing on the disease is significantly lowered. Pets may also be diagnosed with strep throat. Contracting the infection from your family pet is highly unlikely and should not be a concern.
In order to keep yourself safe, you should make sure to wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. Those that have contracted the ailment should stay home from work or school, until it has passed.
There are some things that you can do to relieve your throat pain, while you are taking the antibiotics. Warm salt gargles are very effective in reducing inflammation, edema, and pain. You can use 1 teaspoon of table salt and 4-5 ounces of warm tap water for this concoction. Place the warm salt in your mouth and gargle it for at least 30-45 seconds if possible. Repeat as necessary or when you begin to feel throat pain again.
• Hot water bottle – can be placed on the throat area to reduce pain and inflammation. You can also substitute the water bottle for a moist heating pad, because it will have the same effect.
• Rest – is necessary for the healing process, so stay in bed until you begin to feel better.
Your physician will prescribe you a suitable antibiotic to treat the strep throat. In order to eradicate the bacteria, you will have to take the full prescription, without missing doses. After you have completed the antibiotic therapy, you may want to return to your physician’s office for a follow up visit, just to make sure that the infections is completely gone.
At the end of the day, strep throat is an annoying complication, which is generally not dangerous, as long as it is treated in a timely manner. However, it can be very contagious. Most experts believe that the contagious nature of the disease will dissipate after 24 hours. Be sure to take precautions during this period of time, in order to lower your chances of being infected.