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Old 01-22-2004, 03:21 PM
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Strep Throat

Just wanted to print this as a reminder of what to look out for if you think someone you know might be infected with Strep Throat

We are battling this at our house. My DH has had it for 3 days now and is finally starting to feel a little better. Its going around our county and is in the schools too.


strep throat
By Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN

Strep throat is an infection of the pharynx caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes. The pharynx is the part of the throat between the tonsils and the larynx, or voice box.

What is going on in the body?

Strep throat is the most common of the many infections that are caused by group A streptococci, or GAS. The bacteria that causes strep throat makes a toxin that results in an infection in the throat and tonsils. A person can develop symptoms of strep throat from 1 to 6 days after being exposed to the bacteria. Symptoms in up to 40% of children may be too mild to diagnosis. Up to 20% of school-aged children may be carriers of the bacteria. These children will show no symptoms but can transmit strep throat to others.

A sore throat accompanied by fever is caused by a virus 70% of the time. Without treatment, uncomplicated viral infections usually subside within 3 to 10 days after onset. Strep throat is more significant because of the increased incidence of complications.

What are the signs and symptoms of the disease?

The following are symptoms of strep throat: sore throat that starts suddenly, without runny nose or congestion "fiery" red throat painful swallowing white patches on the tonsils swollen lymph nodes in the neck fever, with a temperature of 101 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, or 38.3 to 40 degrees celsius headache loss of appetite fatigue

Children with strep throat may also have these additional symptoms: nausea vomiting abdominal distress

What are the causes and risks of the disease?

Strep throat is a bacterial infection that is usually spread by person-to-person contact through coughing or sneezing. Exposure to a person who has untreated strep throat may pose a risk for acquiring this infection. A person may be a carrier of the strep bacteria without having symptoms.

People who may be more at risk for serious strep infection include the following: people who have chronic conditions or diseases such as diabetes people who have weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV or immunodeficiency disorders children who have chickenpox

What can be done to prevent the disease?

Strep throat can be spread from person to person. Prompt diagnosis and treatment is the best way to prevent the disease and its complications. Anyone with strep throat should take antibiotics for at least 24 hours before returning to work, school, or day care. In addition, hands should be washed thoroughly and soiled tissues should be discarded promptly.

How is the disease diagnosed?

Strep throat may be suspected after a medical history and physical exam are performed. The back of the throat is swabbed to get a sample of the bacteria. Tests that may be done on this sample are ELISA, or "quick strep," which makes it possible to make the diagnosis within 15 minutes throat culture, which involves the growing of bacteria and takes at least 24 hours

Blood tests, including a complete blood count orCBC, may also be done to check for infection.

What are the long-term effects of the disease?

In most cases, there are no long-term effects from strep throat. Complications may occur if a strep infection is not treated, including the following: ear infections, such as acute otitis media tonsillitis, with abscesses or damage to the tonsils scarlet fever, a rash associated with strep throat rheumatic fever, an inflammation of the joints and the heart that can cause heart damage poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis, an inflammation of the kidney that can lead to kidney damage rarely, death

What are the risks to others?

Anyone with an untreated strep throat can spread it to others.

What are the treatments for the disease?

Penicillin is the usual treatment for strep throat. If a person is allergic to penicillin, another antibiotic may be used. To prevent the complications of strep infections, it is important to take the entire course of antibiotics prescribed, even if the symptoms subside.

Following are ways to reduce symptoms: rest, especially when fever is present warm salt-water gargles and throat lozenges to reduce pain and inflammation over-the-counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen, for pain and fever plenty of liquids. Iced drinks or milk shakes, as well as a soft-foods diet, may help to relieve discomfort.

Aspirin should not be given to children or teens, as it increases the risk of a serious disorder known as Reye's syndrome.

What are the side effects of the treatments?

The most common side effects of antibiotics are stomach upset, rash, and allergic reaction.

What happens after treatment for the disease?

Most strep throat infections respond rapidly to treatment. Usually no further treatment is needed.

How is the disease monitored?

Any new or worsening symptoms should also be reported to the healthcare provider.
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Old 01-22-2004, 07:55 PM
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It's also important to keep in mind that Strep does't always present with a very painful sore throat, even though the throat is "firery red"... in some strains of strep the sore throat can be quite mild, and practally painless, described as a "tickling" feeling... just the associated symptoms may present themselves.... It is wise to be on the look-out for a strep infestion if you know that it is "going around". We believe that it was an unrecognized strep infection that caused my dd Juvenile Rhumatoid Arthritis... It is a nasty thing ....
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Old 01-22-2004, 08:21 PM
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Lifestar, If you dont mind me asking, What were the unrecognized symptoms --assuming you know now. Im asking because we have been passing around the flu from my kids ( 6 & 8 months) to me and my husband. Then, Dh came down with strep throat BUT only after my son was complaining of a sore throat alond with hoarness and a slight red rash on his cheeks. I didnt think anything of it at first since we were sick anyway but now Im reading that kids often dont have the adult symptoms. He seems to be ok now. Also, my babyDD seems to be getting a reoccuring runny nose along with a slight fever BUT she is teething. I dont want to jump the gun on this but yet I dont want to slack off....especially after reading what you wrote. What do you think?
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Old 01-22-2004, 08:38 PM
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When anyone in the household has Strep throat, everyone else should be checked.. ( if dh has it.. you probably will too.. unless you're not kissin' him lately!) lol!!

The "slapped cheek" look on your son, could be signs of viral illness ( like Fifth's disease ) or just rosy cheeks fom the cold weather!!

My daughter was treated for strep throat with a one week course of antibiotics... and unbeknownst to us.. the strep didn't clear up! We found out later... she still had the strep.. it was resistant to the antibiotic, but because she was little ( 7 yrs old) and not in any real pain, she just "lived with it" .

You can't second guess everything you do as a mom.. Trust your best instinct.. learn whatever you can..be a good "consumer" when it comes to healthcare... and forgive yourself when you are not SuperWoman!

Val
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Old 01-22-2004, 08:46 PM
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Thanks for the good advice.
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