Strep throat can be more serious than is often thought
While many sore throats get better and go away without treatment, strep throat, caused by a group A streptococcal infection, should not be left untreated.
Typically, symptoms include
a sudden fever that often gets higher on the second day
a very sore throat that may (or may not) have white patches
swollen lymph nodes and/or swollen glands and a sore, tender neck
Less typical, but still common side effects include:
loss of appetite or change in tastes of food/drink
Strep Throat is Contagious
A person typically starts having strep throat symptoms within five days of coming in contact with someone who has a strep infection or who is a carrier. It is possible for a person to carry the infection but not exhibit symptoms, and still infect others. In some cases, we see this in families. A strep test will show the infection, and the carrier can be treated with antibiotics to stop the strep cycle.
“No white spots” – So you’re fine, right?
Not necessarily. While white patches in the throat is a very common symptom of strep throat, every infected person doesn’t have the “spots,” and most people who are infected won’t display the white patches throughout the infection. Many people have just a very red throat.
(That said, if you see white patches in your throat, a doctor visit is needed!)
Complications Can Be Serious
Many people are tempted to “tough out” a strep throat, or to avoid antibiotic treatment even after diagnosis. While we are keenly aware of the problem of over-treating with penicillin and other antibiotic drugs, strep throat is a notable exception.
Group A streptococcal infections can, rarely, lead to liver damage, scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, and guttate psoriasis, a painful condition affecting the arms, legs and midsection.
Antibiotics + Safe, Simple Remedies
In the case of strep throat (determined in-office for most cases; followed by a lab test to confirm), a combination of antibiotics and home provide relief quickly and prevent additional cases.
We recommend getting a strep test if a sore throat with any symptoms noted above does not improve within 24 hours. (No appointment is needed at our Highland office, which is open 7 days a week.)
In the case of strep, common sore throat remedies such as sipping warm lemon water with honey, gargling several times a day, and using a cool-mist humidifier at home to ease dryness are all advised.
And one more important tip: You’ll need a new toothbrush! The bacteria can live in your toothbrush and reinfect you. We recommend beginning to use the new toothbrush 48-72 hours after starting the antibiotic medication treatment.
Is Strep Throat a Reason for an Emergency Visit?
Of course, because no appointment is necessary at our urgent care, we recommend coming in as soon as you suspect strep or display any symptoms. At Firstcare we have rapid strep tests that can tell you if your infection is strep within ten minutes.