According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), several millions of strep throat cases occur in Americans every year. Worse still is that out of the numbers, 11,000 to 24 000 are invasive infections, which means that the bacteria have spread to other areas like your blood, skin layers, and lungs.
But before getting far, what is strep throat? It’s an infection that occurs in your tonsils or your throat. The disease is caused by bacteria called Groups A Streptococcus (GAS), also referred to as Streptococcus Pyogenes. Strep throat and sore throat are almost similar, but they are different.
If you are worried that what you deemed to be a sore throat could be a strep throat, please stick on for more insight.
How can you get a strep throat? It is essential to know that the group A strep bacteria live in your throat and nose, making it very contagious. Those infected spread the bacteria by sneezing or coughing the respiratory droplets that contain the bacteria. As a result, you get infected after the following:
- Breath in the droplets
- Touch contaminated surfaces like faucets and door knobs, and then touch your nose or mouth
- Touch sores caused by Group A strep on the skin (impetigo)
- Eat from the same plate or drink from the same glass with an infected person.
Having looked at how it can spread, you need to know that Group A strep bacteria can cause several illnesses. These include; impetigo and cellulitis, and to some extent, they can cause toxic shock syndrome and kidney problems.
Signs and Symptoms of Strep Throat
The severity of strep throat varies from one person to another. Typically, strep throat symptoms are mild but can exhibit severe symptoms. One of the most common symptoms is a sore throat, but there are other symptoms. These include:
- Trouble when swallowing
- White and red patches in your throat
- Red and big tonsils
- Stomach pain
- Sudden fever of 38 degrees Celsius or higher
- Swollen lymph nodes on your neck
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting and nausea
For your information, you could be having these signs and symptoms and not have strep throat, or still have strep throat but show no signs. It is, therefore, essential to visit a doctor for a test. If you are in Los Angeles and don’t know where to start, worry no more. At Westside Head & Neck, we got you. Our dedicated ENT doctors Los Angeles will be waiting for you.
The point worth noting is that these symptoms develop five days after you get exposed to the bacteria. Puzzling still is that you could exhibit no signs and symptoms, yet you are infected. So in such a case, how will I know I have strep throat? You could be wondering.
The answer is simple. Regularly visit a throat infection specialist to check your overall throat health. At Westside Head & Neck, we have a throat infection specialist Los Angeles to help you regain your healthy self.
Strep Throat Diagnosis
Once you visit your doctor, he or she will examine your throat for any signs of inflammation. He may also check whether you have swollen lymph nodes on your neck. Your doctor may also enquire from you of any other signs and symptoms. If they suspect you have strep throat, further tests may follow. This will help determine whether your sore throat is due to strep infection or other bacteria.
The two sure ways of telling you have strep throat are Rapid strep test and throat culture. Under the rapid strep test, the doctor will take a swab from the back of your throat, test, and you get your results in a few minutes. For throat culture, the doctor will take a swab over your tonsils and throat, and then the sample is taken to the lab for testing. If you have strep throat, the streptococci bacteria will grow in the swab. These results take about two days.
Sore Throat Treatment
Your doctor may prescribe two forms of treatment, medication, and some home care remedies. Strep throat being a bacterial infection, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria. The medicine may last for at least 6 to ten days.
It’s advisable to finish the prescribed dose even after you feel better. Successful completion of the dosage deters a relapse. Moreover, it would be best if you avoid self-medication.
There are also some home care remedies you can take at your home’s comfort to make you comfortable and lessen the pain. These home remedies include:
- Gargling with salt
- Drinking warm liquids (you could add honey, peppermint, or garlic)
- Taking cold beverages to numb the throat
- Taking pain relievers like ibuprofen
- Sucking some ice cubes
- Avoid smoking and smoky environments
Prevention of Strep Throat
Having strep throat does not prevent you from getting it again. While there is no vaccine yet, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones. They include:
- Covering your mouth while sneezing and coughing
- Changing your toothbrush after infection
- Cleaning your hands
- Avoiding sharing of personal items
- Washing dishes in hot soapy water
- Disposing of used tissues in the dustbin
It is essential to know that if strep throat is left untreated, it can lead to severe complications. But why wait for complications while you can visit head and neck doctors in Los Angeles to check on you? Our throat infection specialist Los Angeles will check your throat and prescribe the right medication.
Some of the complications of untreated strep throat may include:
- Ear infection
- Rheumatic fever, which affects your skin, heart, and the joints
- Abscesses around the tonsils
- Inflammation of the kidney
Even after taking the necessary precautions, you might still contract strep throat. In that case, please don’t beat yourself over it. Simply visit a throat specialist to take care of your throat.
Anyone can get strep throat, but it’s more common in a particular age group. This includes the school-aged group between the ages of 5- 15 years. You can still be infected with strep infection at any time of the season, but it’s more common during winter and early spring in the United States.
Sore Throat Doctor Los Angeles
The good thing is that strep throat is treatable and manageable with good care. All you need is a specialist. If you are looking for a sore throat doctor Los Angeles, we have the best doctors at Westside Head & Neck. Are you also looking for a chronic sore throat specialist Los Angeles? We have them too.
Please schedule your visit today for a throat infection specialist Los Angeles. Don’t wallow with pain when our specialist can ease that pain with just a few days of medication. Additionally, for a chronic sore throat specialist Los Angeles, look our way. We will be there to help you.