Strep Throat in Kids & Adults
Strep throat is a commonly used name for streptococcal pharyngitis – a dangerous infectious disease that affects throat (in particular, its back part, including tonsils). This disease incites fear in millions of parents worldwide, as it commonly affects children and teenagers from 5 up to 16 years of age. Are there any grounds for these fears? Is the infection really as dangerous as it is considered? Is it treatable, and does it cause complications? In this article we’ll try to answer all common questions.
What is Strep Throat?
The causative agent of the infection is the Streptococcus bacteria of A-group. It is air-transmitted and can spread around when a person sneezes or coughs. It is often confused with viral infections, causing sore throat or even common cold. But in fact, real strep throat occurs quite rarely – approximately in 0.5-3 percent of all cases of sore throat. This means that one should not panic every time he or she has a pain in a throat combined with a fever. On the other hand, one should be cautious, because if it is really strep throat, its consequences can be severe.
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms of strep throat can differ in different people. They depend on the age of the patient, functioning of the immune system, coexisting conditions and his overall state of health. But there are some frequently occurred signs that usually help to distinguish strep throat from the common cold or sore throat at home, before the doctor’s visit.
- It develops very quickly, virtually by the minute. In 4 hours an absolutely healthy person becomes absolutely ill.
- A typical symptom is a high and sudden fever, which also develops in a moment. It can reach 40 degrees and higher.
- Throat is painful, red (often with white dots), the pain is strong. This is commonly accompanied by difficult swallowing and swollen lymph nodes. In the most severe cases difficulties with breathing can occur.
Other symptoms may include headache, chills, muscular ache. Sometimes, there can be rash on the skin. In any case, if you suspect strep throat, stay in bed and call for medical help.
Diagnosis is not put on the basis of symptoms alone. Of course, first of all a doctor conducts a visual examination of the patients and estimates his condition – checks his throat and lymph nodes, measures the body temperature. But for the exact diagnosing, strep test is needed. Usually, this is a rapid strep test, which is ready in 5 minutes. For the test, samples are taken from the back of throat. After the test showed a positive result, the diagnosis is officially established.
Strep throat is the type of a disease that requires timely and proper measures to be taken. Like any infectious disease, it is treated with antibiotics.
In addition, some scientist believe that this disease may be prevented by vaccination. According to the study by L. M. Anjos and others (2014) future perspectives to prevent strep throat and systemic complications after infection include the development of special anti-Streptococcus pyogenes vaccine.
Apart from taking medications, specialists often recommend using of tried and tested home remedies end therapy methods. Let’s take a closer look at the most effective of them.
Strep Throat Home Remedies
Beware that all types of home remedies are primarily focused at relieving symptoms and creating the most comfortable environment for patients. However, they don’t substitute medication treatment with antibiotics.
Effective in-home therapy methods are similar with those that are used for the common cold treatment:
- Drinking much water (water can be replaced with herbal tea or fruit-drink with honey, lemon or ginger). The beverage should be warm (not hot!), and the patient should drink it in small sips.
- Using common pain relievers (paracetamol- or ibuprofen-containing medicines). They will help to relieve pain and fever and have a mild hypnotic effect without harm to health.
- Gargling. One can gargle the throat with salted water or other home-made remedies for reducing swelling and relieve pain.
- Humidifier. It is a special device that increases moisture in a room. Increased humidity in the air may relieve the discomfort caused by the disease. Clean the device every day, because microorganisms can flourish inside it.
- Eating soothing foods. You should give preference to food that does not irritate the pharynx. Eat soups, mashed potatoes, broths, soft porridge and soft fruits, such as ripe persimmons and banana. In addition, you can blend your food. Avoid very acidic & spicy foods, such as lemon juice and Tom yum.
Antibiotics for Streptococcal Pharyngitis
For the fight against the Streptococcus bacteria itself, antibiotics are used. The most commonly prescribed antibiotics are those of penicillin or amoxicillin groups. Amoxicillin today is more popular in most countries.
Can I take Amoxicillin for Strep Throat?
Antibiotics are always prescribed by a health specialist after he has established a diagnosis. Any antibiotic must be taken exactly as prescribed; self-medication is inadmissible. In general, amoxicillin-based antibiotics are inexpensive and cause few adverse effects. At the same time, they are highly effective and reliable, so doctors frequently prescribe them for strep throat treatment. The course of treatment is usually 10 days. Some patients make a serious mistake, when they stop administering the drug before the end of the course. Mind that you may feel much better in 2 days after the beginning of treatment, and in 4 days the symptoms can completely disappear. But still you must continue buying amoxil (or penicillin) as prescribed and complete the course. Otherwise, the infection will not be killed completely. As a result, the symptoms will return, and moreover, you can get serious complications.
Therefore, you need to undergo a full course of treatment with this antibiotic if you want to completely recover. Stopping using the med before the end of the treatment may lead to increased risk that strep bacteria will become resistant to therapy in the future.
Can Bactrim Treat Strep Throat?
Sometimes it happens that patients are allergic to amoxicillin and penicillin, so there is need for alternative methods. In particular, patients often wonder whether medicines like Bactrim treat strep throat. Bactrim relates to drugs that kill some bacteria. It consists of two active components: sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim. It must be taken orally in the dosage prescribed by your health care provider. It is recommended to wash it down with water, but in case of gastrointestinal disorders, take it with milk or food products.
Many people are interested in whether Bactrim is an antibiotic. Its first component (sulfamethoxazole) is not antibiotic in the full sense of this word, because it partly refers to sulfonamides that have antibacterial activity, however, they are older versions of modern antibiotics. But the second component (trimethoprim) is definitely an antibiotic substance, according to WebMD.
Therefore, Bactrim can also be considered an antibiotic.
Bactrim effectively copes with many existing infections. For example, this antibiotic remedy can successfully treat intestinal infections, bacterial inflammation of the middle ear, intestinal and respiratory infections, travelers' diarrhea, etc. It is also used to treat certain varieties of pneumonia (pneumocystis-type). This medication must not be given to children under 2 months because it can cause severe side effects in them. It is effective only against certain types of bacteria and does not kill viruses.
Microorganisms against which this medication may be effective include, in particular, Pneumocystis jirovecii, Burkholderia cepacia, Moraxella catarrhalis, and many others.
Unfortunately, its effectiveness in the fight with the Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria is low. Therefore, Bactrim will not help you if you get strep throat. However, in can be used as part of complex therapy or for the treatment of coexisting conditions and complications. Mind that it is also used by prescription only, as well as other antibiotics. Self-medication is inadmissible.
Attention! You might also like this article: Antibiotics from Canada awcanadianpharmacy.com/blog/antibiotics-from-canada/
Complications of strep throat are usually a cause of inadequate or late treatment. Some of them can be rather severe, especially in children. One of common complications is retropharyngeal abscess. It occurs on the background of the weakened immunity.
Sometimes, a consecutive infection can develop. The most probable of them are ears infections that often result in otitis. Other complications can include scarlet fever or sinusitis. One of the most serious negative effects of strep throat is rheumatic fever, which causes heart problems and affects joints. It occurs very rarely and mostly in children from vulnerable families.
Septic throat is a dangerous form of sore throat that affects both kids and adults. If no proper measures are taken, it can grow into very serious diseases, which are difficult to treat. However, if it is diagnosed correctly and timely, it is quite easily treated with common antibiotics. So, there is no reason to panic, if you experience symptoms of strep throat. Just call for a doctor and get a prescription for the needed drugs. Timely and proper addressing the disease guarantees a positive outcome.
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