Strep throat is a bacterial infection caused by Streptococcus Pyogenes, also called Group A Streptococcus. While not as common as viral throat infections, strep throat infections can lead to dangerous complications if left untreated. The Center for Disease Control records several million cases of strep throat every year in the United States, and a 2016 study conducted by the University of Oklahoma indicates over 616 million cases annually worldwide.
The symptoms of strep throat are nearly identical to those of a viral throat infection. An infected person can expect to experience fever, body aches, and, of course, a sore throat. If these symptoms are accompanied by a runny nose or cough, a viral infection such as the common cold is more likely the cause. An untreated strep throat infection may lead to severe complications if left untreated, though, so it is best to find out for sure, and especially if the infected person believes they may have been exposed to strep.
Strep throat is spread by exposure to the respiratory excretions of an infected person. As such, infected persons should be sure to cover their mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing. While strep throat may infect anyone, children between the ages of five and fifteen are far more susceptible. For this reason, strep is often spread in schools, daycare centers, and in households with more than one child. Studies show that infection is more likely during the months of winter and spring, perhaps due to large gatherings of people indoors.
Strep throat must be treated with antibiotics such as Penicillin and Amoxicillin. If left untreated, strep throat can lead to severe complications such as infection of the lymph nodes, abscesses, and even Rheumatic Fever, a serious inflammatory condition.
Antibiotics are very effective against strep throat, and within twenty-four hours of taking the recommended dose, an infected person is usually no longer contagious. Within a few days of treatment, symptoms will begin to diminish. It is important to take the entire cycle of antibiotics prescribed even if symptoms become less severe or disappear altogether. Persons diagnosed with strep should avoid school, work, daycare, and other gatherings for at least twenty-four hours.
In addition to a course of antibiotics, over the counter remedies such as Ibuprofin (Advil, Motrin) and Acetaminophen (Tylenol) may be used to reduce pain and discomfort. Home remedies, such as the use of a vaporizer/humidifier, drinking hot tea with honey and lemon, and gargling with salt-water, will also help soothe an infected throat.
If you live in the Ogden, Utah area and think you may have a strep throat infection, contact the professionals at North View Dental today. Don’t let an uncomfortable, yet treatable infection turn into a more complicated and dangerous condition. Call today to schedule an appointment or visit their website to learn more about North View’s welcoming staff and comfortable, professional office.