Strep Throat

Strep throat or streptococcal pharyngitis, is a form of sore throat that is caused by a bacteria known as “streptococcus pyogenes or group A streptococcus”. This bacterial infection causes inflammation leading to pain in the throat. The symptoms of strep throat are tolerable and they go away within a week. Like any other disease, in case of strep throat too early diagnosis and treatment can save the patients from further complications. Therefore, you should visit a General Physician in Lahore as soon as you witness the first sign of strep throat.

Strep throat commonly occurs in young school-going children. This is because adults have been exposed to a greater number of bacteria and viruses throughout their lives so they have a higher level of immunity than children. But, still they can fall prey to this bacterial infection if they do not take proper precautions.

Symptoms

The symptoms of strep throat vary depending on several risk factors that an individual may possess. However some most common symptoms of strep throat are:

  • Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
  • Mild or severe pain in the throat
  • High-grade fever with chills and body ache
  • Headache
  • Rashes
  • Red swollen tonsils (with white patches)
  • Small red spots on the roof of the mouth
  • Nausea and vomiting (more common in children)

Causes

Streptococcal bacteria can be transmitted from one person to another pretty easily. It spreads through transmission of droplets from infected people’s  coughing or sneezing, or through sharing food or drinks.

You can also contract strep throat by touching doorknobs, or other surfaces if they have group A strep bacteria over them.

Diagnosis

When you or your children visit a General Physician in Islamabad they will be able to diagnose strep throat after doing a physical examination of your throat and taking your history. They may also order a few laboratory tests to confirm their diagnosis and determine the right treatment plan. Some diagnostic tests used for diagnosing strep throat are:

1.    Rapid Antigen Test:

For quick results, a Rapid antigen test is performed first. For this test a swab is taken from the patient’s throat and examined to detect the presence of group A streptococcus. A positive test is enough to confirm that a patient has strep throat but a negative result means that some other infection may be causing your symptoms.

1.    PCR Test:

This is also done by obtaining a sample through a throat swab. It is a test to detect the genetic material of the bacteria and it is more sensitive. The result of this test is reliable and takes 12-24 hours to come out.

2.    Throat Culture:

To get a sample of the secretions, a swab is wiped over the back of the throat. It does not hurt, but it might make you gag or feel uncomfortable. The sample is then cultured in a laboratory to see which bacteria is present in your secretions. It is the most commonly used diagnostic test for diagnosing strep throat. Its  results can take two to three days to show up.

Treatment

If your doctor diagnoses you or your child with strep throat, an oral antibiotic will most likely be prescribed. Antibiotics lessen the duration and severity of symptoms. They also counter any risks of complications and prevent spread of infection. You or your child should feel better in a day or two after starting the antibiotics treatment.

To relieve other symptoms like throat pain and fever, medicines like Acetaminophen or Paracetamol are also prescribed along with antibiotics.

When symptoms start improving, some people stop taking their antibiotics which evenleads to recurrence of strep throat. You must finish your antibiotic treatment course to eradicate the infection completely.

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