Strep as a dangerously contagious infection
Strep throat is a very dangerous and contagious infection of the throat. Contagious means that it can be spread from one person to another. The infection attacks the mucous-like membranes at the back of the throat. As a result, the disease causes swelling and inflammation of the membranes at the back of the throat.
Strep throat is a disease that results from a bacteria called Group A Streptococcus. The disease is very common among young people, especially children. However, the disease is very rare among adults. It is one of the major causes of sore throat.
Especially among school-aged kids, streptococcus is responsible for the majority of sore throats. The disease also calls for fast treatment, since it causes a lot of unrest and pain in the victim. If not treated quickly, it can cause more complications in the throat or other parts of the body.
Symptoms of strep
Strep throat is a very common and rather dangerous infection. It isn't important to just know the causes but also the symptoms. This will help you identify the disease quickly and take the necessary measures.
Symptoms of strep throat include the following:
- You are experiencing a lot of pain in the throat when swallowing food. This is more intense when you are swallowing something hard or cold.
- High body temperatures or fever may be present. You will notice in cases with a child that they will sweat a lot more. The fever can be sudden and can go up to 101 F.
- Severe headaches that can last for some hours may begin.
- Throat pains may be present. These are pains that approach quickly without any activity in the throat.
- You will identify tender and swollen lymph nodes in the neck. These can be easily identified by just touching the area around your neck.
- A patient will also start showing red tonsils. In most cases, the tonsils are swollen and have white patches. They may also have some streaks of pus.
- Nausea and vomiting may become problematic. This is a common symptom for younger children.
- General body aches may occur, especially when you are working.
- A quick and unidentified rash may appear.
- You may also have tiny reddish spots that appear on the hard or soft palate. This is the region at the back of the inner part of the mouth.
Causes of strep throat
Strep throat is a dangerous disease which is caused by bacteria called Group A Streptococcus. The bacteria are also known as Streptococcus pyogenes. The infection is contagious and can be obtained from many places.
Group A Streptococcus refers to a type of bacteria that is mostly found on the skin or throat of human beings. The bacteria can cause a number of infections, most of them related to the throat, and strep is one of them.
The infection attacks an individual by invading the tissues in the throat known as the pharyngeal tissues. Once this tissue is affected, there is localized inflammation of the tonsils and the throat. The streptococcus bacterial organisms are mostly found on the skin and can be responsible for other infections such as impetigo. The Group A Streptococcus bacteria is also known to have the ability to live in one’s throat or nose without causing any harm.
In other minor cases, a sore throat can also be caused by other factors, such as viruses, allergens, and environmental irritants. Such environmental irritants include smoking. Fungi can also cause a sore throat. However, sore throats caused by these factors go away within a short time frame. Acid reflux, the common cold, sinus infections, and postnasal drip are also among the other factors that can be responsible for a sore throat.
How strep throat is spread
Due to the fact that strep throat is a contagious disease, it is important to know some of the ways through which the infection can be spread from one person to another. Here are some of these ways. They include:
- Coming into contact with droplets released by an infected person once he/she coughs or sneezes.
- Touching of the eyes, nose, or mouth of an infected person. However, this is known to happen in cases where the body parts produce droplets. The chances are very high in the organs and regions of the body that generate mucous.
- Sharing utensils such as a plate or a glass with an infected person.
- Coming into contact with sores from an infected person’s skin.
When you should see a doctor
Sometimes it is difficult to identify if you have strep throat due to the nature of its causes. However, there is a point when you should quickly see a doctor for a checkup. Seek a doctor’s help in case you realize the following:
- If you experience frequent sore throats that do not respond to pain relievers
- You experience breathing difficulties
- Drooling becomes common
- Whenever the symptoms last for more than a number of weeks
- Having difficulties when swallowing fluids, saliva, and food
- Experiencing continuous and persistent fever
Risk factors for strep throat
Identifying the causes of this disease is equally important to identifying the risk factors associated with the infection. Once you know the causes of strep throat, it is important to know the risk factors involved, since it will help you identify the right ways to keep yourself safe from the disease.
These risk factors may include the following:
- Time of the year. Strep throat is an infection that can occur at any time. However, according to the research, the infection is known to occur mostly around the late fall or early spring. The strep bacteria is also known to be more active, especially when multiple people are in contact with each other.
- Young age. According to research, the disease has been known to occur mostly among young children. However, the disease can also occur in adults, but it is in rare cases.
- Staying in congested areas. Strep throat is a dangerous contagious infection. This means it can be spread. Exposing yourself to highly congested areas poses a big threat for suffering from the infection. In congested places where people cough and sneeze, it can easily spread through streptococcus droplets.
- Sharing utensils. Sharing utensils such as plates, spoons, and drinking glasses is a serious risk factor for developing strep throat. Once people start sharing these utensils, there is a very high likelihood of strep bacteria droplets being passed from one person to the next.
- Contact with surfaces touched by affected people. It is a more common risk factor, but it can be avoided. Touching doorknobs and other surfaces can cause strep throat in case droplets are left. Then the droplets can be transferred into the mouth or nose.
The Bottom Line
Strep throat is a contagious infection that can be dangerous and should be taken seriously to control the spread of the infection. The infection can also cause very harmful effects in its patients if not treated in good time. It is very common among children but can also occur in adults.
Strep is caused by a very contagious bacteria known as Group A Streptococcus or Streptococcus pyogenes. Staying safe from infected people or avoiding all the risk factors can help you in preventing strep throat. Visiting a doctor can also help in identifying ways to prevent the triggering of the Streptococcus bacterium.