- The infection is caused by Group A streptococcus bacteria, specifically the Streptococcus pyogens.
- Antibiotics are the necessary treatment for strep throat.
- Strep throat can cause severe other infections such as scarlet fever, acute rheumatic fever, streptococcal toxic shock syndrome, and abscess formation.
It is a bacterial infection that affects the throat and tonsils, causing the throat to be irritated and inflamed. When that happens, the infected individual suffers a severe sore throat and pain around the throat area. The infection can affect anyone at any age, though it is more common among children between ages of 5-years-old and 15-years-old than adults.
What causes strep throat?
The infection is caused by Group A streptococcus bacteria, specifically the Streptococcus pyogens. This bacteria attacks the pharyngeal tissue causing the throat and tonsil area to be inflamed, interrupting the airways.
What we know about strep throat
The infection is so common that it is among the most common infections among school children between 5-years-old and 15-years-old. In fact, between 15% to 40% cases of sore throat infections are speculated to be due to streptococcus bacteria. The only difference between these two is that strep throat arises from a bacterial infection while most sore throats are due to a viral infection. Recognizing the difference between the two dictates the treatment plan that may be prescribed to the infected individual.
Symptoms of strep throat
The bacteria usually has a one to four day incubation period, after which a sudden sore throat sets in. looking down the throat from the mouth, the back of the throat and tonsils appear red and swollen, making swallowing painful.
Symptoms of this condition are often confused with a viral sore throat, and it requires a keen eye to recognize the differences between the two.
Just like any other respiratory infections, strep throat is also contagious and is transmitted through water droplets in the lungs. The droplets are spread when the infected individual sneezes, coughs or even talks to someone else.
How to avoid the strep throat infection
The easiest way to avoid the infection is by avoiding contact with an infected individual who can be identified by the symptoms above. For children, it is advisable to keep your child at home while they are sick to avoid spreading the infection.
It is best to avoid touching your own eyes, throat, and mouth as much as possible. The problem is that there are those who may be infected but still remain asymptomatic, which means that they can spread the infection without displaying the symptoms.
Treatment of strep throat
It’s advisable to first attempt home remedies before jumping to medication. Some of these involve getting extra sleep, herbal tea, and regular hydration. These will often alleviate symptoms within a few days, but they shouldn’t be ignored if these remedied do not help.
The primary treatment formula for strep throat involves antibiotics to resolve the infection. Common over-the-counter antibiotics can be used at the first sight of symptoms, although powerful antibiotics may also be prescribed if the symptoms do not abate.
Strep throat complications
What starts as a simple sore throat can develop into a nasty infection spreading into other regions of the body if ignored. Strep throat has been recognized as the source of other severe infections such as scarlet fever, acute rheumatic fever, streptococcal toxic shock syndrome and abscess formation.