Strep throat is commonly spread through respiratory droplets. This can include breathing in these droplets from a cough or sneeze, sharing a drink or food with someone who is infected, or touching an item contaminated with droplets and then touching your nose or mouth. AFC Urgent Care Springfield offers rapid strep throat tests and cultures. From there, our physicians will help determine the best course of treatment.
Symptoms of Strep Throat
Strep throat very rarely causes serious complications, but it can be very painful. Typical symptoms include a painful sore throat and pain while swallowing, fever, and red, swollen tonsils that have patches of white. Children may experience vomiting or nausea, and some cases can also experience “scarlet fever,” which is a red rash. If symptoms also include cough or runny nose, it is possible to be a virus instead of strep throat. Symptoms normally begin two to three days after exposure.
Potential Risk Factors of Strep
Children age 5 to 15 are at the highest risk of contracting strep. It is caused by being in close contact with others, so school-age children in crowded schools or daycares are more likely to get it. Like many other contagious illnesses, it is more common during the winter and early springtime. This is due to more people spending time indoors where the air is continuously circulating. Fresh air allows people to not breathe in respiratory droplets.
If strep goes untreated and the bacteria spread to other areas of the body, complications may occur. This includes abscesses around the tonsils, ear or sinus infections, or potentially heart or kidney disease.
Strep Throat Treatment Options
Since strep is caused by bacteria, antibiotics are used to treat it. A strep test is conducted by swabbing the back of the throat, then the sample is analyzed in a rapid test and a culture. If the tests come back positive, your doctor can prescribe an antibiotic. This will make the patient feel better within a few days and shorten the duration of the illness. Avoid contact with others, like going to school or work, until you no longer have a fever or have been on the antibiotic for 12 hours.
In order to avoid catching strep altogether, it’s important to wash your hands frequently and cover your nose and mouth with a tissue while sneezing or coughing. Do not share any utensils or beverages with anyone who is sick. Additionally, do not eat any food prepared by someone who is ill.