Contents – We cover strep throat pictures, symptoms, signs, causes and treatment in this article.
What is Strep Throat ?
It refers to condition caused due to bacterial infection of the throat that can result in increased sensations of scratchiness and soreness in the throat. The symptoms of strep throat infection are usually more serious as compared to those elicited by viral infections of the throat. Strep throat infections form a minor percentage of the all throat infections.
There are various important reasons for effective diagnosis and detection of strep throat, as untreated cases of the condition can sometimes result in complications like rheumatic fever and inflammation or the kidneys. Rheumatic fever is a condition that causes inflamed and painful joints and even result in destruction of the cardiac valves.
Strep throat can be commonly found to affect children between the ages of five and fifteen, but can also occur in people across age groups. It is important to immediately seek medical attention when the symptoms of strep throat are noticed and/or experienced
Symptoms of strep throat
Some of the signs and symptoms of strep throat are as follows:
- Pain in the throat
- The tonsils are swollen and reddish, with occasional development of pus streaks or white patches
- Swallowing problems
- The hard or the soft palate may develop tiny reddish spots
- The lymph node in the neck may be increasingly tender and/or swollen
- Stomach aches which may occasionally be accompanied by vomiting, particularly among younger children
- Development of a rash
- Exhaustion or fatigue
It is important to note that the above mentioned signs and symptoms may be present without the cause being strep throat, and the cause being other illnesses such as viral infections or some other condition. Hence, it is important to visit a doctor, so that he/she may carry out the specific tests for strep throat diagnosis.
It is also important to note that an individual may be affected by the bacteria that cause strep throat, without actually experiencing the symptoms of a scratchy throat pr becoming sick. However, such individuals can be carriers of the bacteria, which they can pass onto others.
Strep is a harmless condition, but it can result in a number of life threatening complications, including:
- Inflammatory reactions such as:
- Development of scarlet fever which is a disease that features a characteristic rash
- A serious disease known as rheumatic fever that can damage the joints, heart, skin and the nervous system
- Kidney inflammation
- The spread of bacterial infection to other areas which may then affect the sinuses, tonsils, skin, middle ear, and blood
- It may be noted that the risk to developing complications from strep throat is quite low in the United States
Causes of strep throat
Strep throat is caused due to infection of the throat by bacteria called Streptococcus pyogenes, or known as group A streptococcus.
Streptococcal bacteria are very contagious. It can be easily spread via droplets that become airborne when an infected individual sneezes or coughs. It can also spread via drinks or foods that are shared. It is also possible to get infected when someone touches an infected doorknob and then passes it onto the mouth or nose by touching them.
Some of the risk factors that increase the vulnerability to developing strep throat are listed below:
- A young age: The condition can be commonly found to occur in children who fall within the age group of 5 to 15 years
- The season: Strep throat can occur throughout the year, but is more common during the months of late fall and early spring. The bacteria tend to thrive in conditions where there is close contact of large groups of people. Hence, strep throat infection generally tends to easily spread in child care centers, among the family members as well as in schools.
Strep Throat Treatment
Strep throat and its various symptoms can be treated by a number of medications such as:
- Antibiotics: Strep is generally treated by various antibiotics prescribed by the doctor, including:
- Amoxicillin which is a better option for treating strep throat in children as the medication is available in the form of a chewable tablet and has a good taste
- Penicillin may be given as an injection in certain cases, such as individuals who are experiencing vomiting due to strep throat or children who are unable to swallow the drug
- Individuals who are allergic to penicillin may be given cephalosporin like cephalexin, or azithromycin or erythromycin
- The antibiotics aid in alleviation of the symptoms as well as limit their duration. Additionally, the chances of complications and spread of infections are also significantly reduced.
- Over the counter symptom relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may also be suggested by the doctor to ease the fever and throat pain.
It is important to note that children should not be given aspirin as it can increase the risk to development of life threatening Reye’s syndrome in children. Also, increased dosage of acetaminophen can result in liver problems.
Strep Throat Pictures