Strep throat is a very common condition. Most of the time, strep throat is caused by viruses but sometimes it can also be caused by bacteria. Sometimes, strep throat is simply an allergic reaction in individuals who have a weak immune system such as children or people with AIDS.
But most often, strep throat is a bacterial infection in both the tonsils and the throat caused by a virus called group A Streptococcus (group A strep.) Children, the elderly, and people with weak immune systems are at high risk for complications resulting from strep throat.
Because it affects the tonsils and the throat, strep throat symptoms are very similar to colds, which generally affect the tonsils, cheeks, and tongue.
The common symptoms of strep throat include
- White-ish or yellowish discharge from the tonsils
- Difficulty breathing and swallowing
- A feeling of soreness and irritation in the neck and throat
- Hoarseness or loudness in the ear
- Swelling of the lymph nodes in or around the neck and throat
- Children may also have diarrhea and vomiting
To prevent complications from developing, it’s best to start treating strep throat early. A simple treatment plan is to warm the water used for gargling with salt or Listerine mouthwash.
Warm water helps fight against the infection by helping to loosen the tonsil stones, which are the source of the pain. Gargling with warm water followed by a drink of cool liquids helps keep the body’s temperature optimal.
If you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms and still don’t feel better, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis. Your doctor will run some tests to find out if you do, in fact, have strep throat, and what type of treatment you need.
In many cases, antibiotics are prescribed and treatment will last up to ten days
In rare cases, antibiotic treatment does not help at all and your doctor will likely prescribe a fever blister medication. These side effects can include a rash and an itchy face, throat, or tongue.
A rash sometimes occurs with strep throat, but this is usually temporary and will go away when the strep throat goes away. If you do get a fever blister, you may experience a rash that looks like small pimple bumps, but they are completely different from the typical rashes that come with strep throat infections.
Usually, the common symptoms of strep throat are
- Dry cough with or without a yellowish nose
- A feeling of a sore throat or a loss of smell
- You may also feel fatigued and weak.
But even though you might feel these things, you should let your doctor know so that your medications can be adjusted. These symptoms are also very common among children who have strep throat, and you may want to treat them as well.
If you have a fever blister with these symptoms, your doctor may recommend a rapid strep test. This test will take about 2 minutes, and you will be able to tell if your throat is actually better than it looked on the test page.
If it is, then you can go ahead with treatment. If not, you will be able to get your prescription refilled. Your doctor might also recommend that you stay home to avoid spreading this infection.
If you have strep throat, you will probably want to stay home to prevent passing it on to others. Your doctor might also suggest that you treat strep throat with an antibiotic.
If you decide to use an antibiotic, you should not stop any other medications you are taking without first speaking to your doctor. Some antibiotics will cause side effects like stomach pain, diarrhea, or rash.
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