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Strep Throat: A Bacterial Infection You Don’t Want to Ignore
It’s the time of year when many of us end up developing sore, scratchy throats that can come seemingly out of nowhere. While the majority of sore throats can be attributed to factors such as seasonal change, airborne irritants and the common cold, there’s another culprit that can cause extremely painful sore throat as its main symptom—strep throat.
If you or a family member have been grappling with a sore throat, it’s important to be able to distinguish the difference between something strep throat and something that will likely resolve on its own.
What Is Strep Throat?
Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the throat and tonsils caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria. As with many viral infections, strep throat can easily spread through close contact via sneezing and coughing, as well as sharing personal items with those who are sick. Though anyone can contract strep throat, the infection is most commonly seen in children, teens and young adults.
What are the Symptoms of Strep Throat?
While strep throat sometimes manifests as a mild illness, symptoms can be severe in some cases. Typical symptoms of strep throat include the following:
- Sore (usually very sore), scratchy throat
- Pain with swallowing
- White patches on the tonsils
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen lymph nodes
In more severe cases of strep throat, symptoms may include:
- Prolonged fever of 101 or higher
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Severe headache
If you or a family member experience any combination of these symptoms, medical attention should be sought immediately.
Diagnosing and Treating Strep Throat
One of the first things a treating provider will do when making a diagnosis is perform a physical examination of the throat, checking for signs of inflammation, swollen lymph nodes and other indications of strep throat. If a bacterial infection is suspected, a rapid strep test will be performed, in which the back of the throat is swabbed for a sample that can confirm the presence of strep in approximately five minutes.
Strep throat is most commonly treated with antibiotics such as penicillin and amoxicillin, which inhibit the spread of bacteria and eventually kill the infection completely. It’s important to note that patients should always finish their entire course of prescribed antibiotics, even if they’re feeling better after just the first dose. Otherwise, a relapse of the infection may occur.
Visit ConvenientMD to Get Treated for Strep Throat Today!
Being a relatively common illness, many people assume that strep throat will improve on its own without treatment. The fact is, untreated cases of strep throat can lead to a number of serious complications, including rheumatic fever, pneumonia and even toxic shock syndrome. At ConvenientMD, we can diagnose and treat strep throat in less than an hour, with no appointment needed at any of our locations in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts.
Think it might be strep? Stop into any ConvenientMD location today to find out for sure. Just walk right in——we’ll have you feeling better in no time.