If you have ever had strep throat, it was most likely when you were a child. Strep throat is more common in children than adult, but still is possible for adults to contract. It is a bacterial infection that cannot be prevented by a vaccine. If your throat is itchy and red, you should go see your doctor or medical professional, who can do a quick test for strep and determine if antibiotics are required to treat it. Strep is a little more painful than the average flu-related sore throat.
Recognizing Strep Throat
Strep symptoms include a red and raw throat, spikes in fever, and white spots on the tongue and tonsils. A fever (101°F or above) is a common symptom of strep throat as well as headache, nausea, or vomiting. Doctors may also check for swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
Treating strep throat with proper medication reduces the duration and severity of the symptoms, as well as the risk of future complications. Antibiotics help prevent the spread of the infection to others.
Contracting Strep Throat
Streptococcus, the bacteria that causes strep, is transmitted airborne through droplets from the cough or sneeze of an infected person. Streptococcus can also be spread by touching your mouth, nose, or eyes after touching something that has the droplets on it.
Avoiding Strep Throat
The best way to stay away from the strep throat bacteria is to wash your hands often and avoid sharing forks, spoons, or cups. It is especially important for anyone with a sore throat to wash their hands and cover their mouth when coughing and sneezing to avoid spreading infectious droplets.
Treating Strep Throat
People with strep throat should stay home from work, school, or daycare until they have taken antibiotics for at least 24 hours in order to contain the infection. If you don’t feel better after taking antibiotics for 48 hours, you should consult your doctor. Even if you are feeling better, be sure to finish the entire prescription unless your doctor tells you to stop. If you stop taking antibiotics too early, you risk getting an infection later that is resistant to antibiotic treatment.
Antibiotics, also known as antibacterials, are types of medications that destroy or slow down the growth of bacteria. The most commonly prescribed medications to treat strep throat are amoxicillin, cephalexin, and penicillin. Antibiotics work only against bacterial infections and will not help sore throats caused by allergies or viral infections such as colds. Some antibiotics are more expensive than others. If you’ve been prescribed an antibiotic to treat strep throat, you can take advantage of free drug cards to get significant savings at your local pharmacy.