Queens Medical Centre

Opening hours Monday to Friday (8am to 6pm)

Queens Medical Centre

Opening hours Mon to Fri (8am to 6pm)

Strep Throat: A Self-Help Guide

 

What is Strep Throat?

Strep throat is a bacterial infection that affects the throat and the tonsils. The condition is characterized by a sore, scratchy throat and is primarily caused by the Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. Unlike most sore throats, which are viral in origin, strep throat requires medical treatment to prevent complications and to alleviate symptoms.

 

What Causes Strep Throat?

Strep throat is caused by the group A Streptococcus bacteria. These bacteria are highly contagious and can spread through airborne droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through shared food or drinks. It can also be picked up from surfaces that have been touched by someone with the infection and then touching your nose or mouth. Close contact with an infected individual significantly increases the risk of contracting strep throat.

 

Do I Have Strep Throat?

Common symptoms of strep throat include:

 

  • Severe sore throat without coughing, sneezing, or other cold symptoms
  • Pain when you swallow
  • Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus
  • Tiny red spots on the area at the back of the roof of the mouth
  • Swollen, tender lymph nodes in your neck
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Fatigue and body aches

 

If you experience these symptoms, particularly if they do not improve or worsen over a few days, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

 

What Treatments Are Available?

reatment for strep throat usually involves antibiotics to fight the bacterial infection. Penicillin or amoxicillin is commonly prescribed for a course of 7 to 10 days. It's important to complete the full course of antibiotics even if you start to feel better to ensure the bacteria is fully eradicated and to prevent any complications or the spread of the infection to others.

 

In addition to antibiotics, you can also:

 

  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, to help relieve throat pain and reduce fever  (Note: Aspirin should not be given to children under 16 years of age)
  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated
  • Eat soft foods to ease throat discomfort
  • Gargle with warm salt water to help soothe the throat
  • Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke

 

Prevention Tips:

To reduce your risk of contracting or spreading strep throat, practice good hygiene by washing your hands regularly with soap and water, especially after coughing, sneezing, or before eating. Avoid sharing food, drinks, utensils, or personal items with others, and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing.

 

If you suspect you have strep throat, it is important to avoid close contact with others and see a healthcare provider for evaluation and treatment. Prompt treatment not only helps alleviate symptoms but also prevents the spread of the infection to others and reduces the risk of complications.

 

When to See a Doctor:

If you or your child has symptoms of strep throat, especially if they are severe or do not improve with self-care measures, it is important to seek medical advice. Your GP can confirm the diagnosis with a throat swab and prescribe appropriate antibiotics if necessary.

 

Remember, strep throat is highly treatable, and with the right care, you should be on the path to recovery in no time.