Everything You Need to Know About Strep Throat
Strep throat is an infection of the tonsils, located on either side of the base of your tongue and at the back of your throat. If you think you might have strep throat, start with a visit to your doctor to get things checked out and to make sure you’re not missing any serious illnesses or conditions that could be confused with signs of strep throat.
Diagnosis can be tricky because strep throat looks very similar to other infections, such as mononucleosis or tonsillitis, so it’s important to get medical attention if you suspect that you have it.
Symptoms Of Strep Throat
Strep throat is an infection of the tonsils and nearby lymph nodes. Symptoms of strep throat include a sore throat, headache, fever, nausea, and swollen tonsils. The most common symptom is a sore throat that worsens with swallowing or coughing.
One may also experience a low-grade fever of 101°F (38°C) or higher for less than three days. Other symptoms may include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, headache and earache.
The most common way strep throat is contracted is through contact with droplets from the nose and mouth during close contact with someone who has it – such as sharing utensils or kissing someone who has it.
How Strep Throat Is Diagnosed?
Your doctor will want to know the duration of your symptoms, whether you have a fever or sore throat, what type of pain you’re feeling and how often you’ve been coughing. He or she will examine your throat and take a throat culture by getting a sample of mucus from your throat with a sterile swab.
This sample is then sent to the lab for analysis. If the test comes back positive, it means you have strep throat. Your doctor may recommend that your family members get tested too because they could also be infected with strep bacteria that they don’t even know about.
Treating Strep Throat
Strep throat is treated with antibiotics and rest. Most people feel better in one week. The bacteria that cause strep throat are usually sensitive to penicillin, erythromycin, or clindamycin. If your doctor prescribes a different antibiotic, take it as directed on the label.
All antibiotics can have side effects such as nausea or diarrhea, but these usually go away after a few days. Drink plenty of fluids while you’re taking antibiotics so that your urine stays light yellow or clear instead of dark yellow (a sign of dehydration). If you still have a fever after three days of taking an antibiotic, call your doctor for advice.