Strep throat is one of the most bothersome health conditions, affecting people of any age. It is somewhat similar to a cold, but it exhibits symptoms worse than that. Strep throat is actually a contagious infection that is caused by streptococcal bacteria. Aside from fever, it causes severe swelling and redness of the throat as well as the tonsils. Red and white spots may also appear on the tonsils and the back of the throat. Sometimes, strep throat is also accompanied by a headache, nausea, and stomach ache.
Children and teenagers aged five to 15 are the most common victims of strep throat, although adults are also prone to contracting this infection. Strep throat can be spread through coughing, sneezing, as well as shaking hands and touching objects that were handled and used by an infected person.
Although strep throat has similar symptoms as a sore throat, the two are very different. A sore throat, the inflammation of the pharynx, occurs simultaneously with either tonsillitis or laryngitis. In some cases of strep throat infection, a kind of skin rash starts to develop over some areas of the body, particularly the neck and chest, and then spreads over the whole body. When this rough, sandpaper-like rash develops, the condition is called scarlet fever.
Doctor, Doctor, I Have Strep Throat
Although very bothersome, strep throat has many cures. Like with other infections, doctors can prescribe the necessary antibiotics that can treat strep throat. If you have strep throat, the best way and fastest way to cure it is to visit your doctor. The doctor will administer a strep test, which can show the results in five to ten minutes. Once the gravity of the infection is determined, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics that you need to take for at least 10 days. Make sure that you finish the medication once you start on it; otherwise, you will only make the bacteria immune to the antibiotic. If you opt not to finish the medication, the bacteria gets stronger, and when it comes back the next time, it will be harder to cure.
Sharing is No Fun with Strep Throat
Strep throat can be transferred to other people through sharing objects, especially unwashed utensils that have been used by people infected with strep throat. To prevent strep throat from spreading, refrain from using the belongings of strep throat infected persons. The dishes and other eating utensils of an infected person should be kept separate from others. They should also be washed and sterilized with hot water to kill bacteria that may further reproduce. When treating a family member with strep throat, be careful with sharing belongings, as strep throat is highly contagious.
Gargle and Sparkle
One of the most popular home remedies for strep throat is to gargle with warm water and salt. Warm water with salt has great anti-bacterial properties that can ease the pain and discomfort caused by strep throat. Aside from killing bacteria, the salt in the solution also clears water away from the swollen cells in the throat area. As a result, the swelling is reduced, leading to faster recovery. It also decreases the chances of the infection spreading. Not only is salt water solution beneficial in treating strep throat, it also costs way less than the gargle solutions sold in most drugstores.
Re-hydration is Key
Strep throat can cause excessive dehydration that can lead to further complications. To prevent patients from getting dehydrated due to strep throat, it is advised that they consume plenty of fluids. Dehydration is most likely to occur in strep throat, as solid food cannot be swallowed by patients, while most liquid foods are equally hard to take in. Fresh fruit juices, green tea with honey and lemon, and other drinks rich in vitamin C are also good at re-hydrating patients, as well as killing bacteria. Aside from drinking plenty of water, it is also recommended that patients consume fluids that contain electrolytes, such as Gatorade and other specialty drinks. The key to a complete and smooth recovery from strep throat is to rehydrate alongside the intake of medication.
Be Clean All the Time
Since strep throat is a highly contagious disease, it is important that you keep clean at all times. Bacteria can easily spread with improper use and cleaning of utensils and other belongings of a person infected with strep throat. One of the best ways to get rid of strep throat, especially in the house, is to sanitize the belongings of an affected person. This includes kitchen and eating utensils, underwear, clothes, and bedding. If you happen to have handled such objects, make sure that you thoroughly wash your hands. This also goes out to strep throat infected persons who absolutely need to go to work or school. Keeping a bottle of rubbing alcohol or sanitizer can help ward off bacteria. Remember that clean habits will lead to a healthier you.
Get Plenty of Comfort and Rest
For smoother and faster recovery, it is advised that patients get plenty of sleep and rest. Sleeping can help your body recover from the damages that any sickness or disease can bring. In the case of strep throat, sleeping at least eight hours a day can help repair all the damage caused by the bacteria. When sleeping or resting, do not use fans or keep the air conditioner temperature high. Cooler temperatures can cause postnasal drip, which can worsen your strep throat. Before you sleep, make sure that you gargle with salt water or any other gargle solution. You are sure to have a good night’s sleep when you are feeling much better.
There are many ways to get rid of strep throat. The best way, of course, is to visit a doctor for consultation or treatment. Home remedies for strep throat are also plentiful, so there really is no need to lose hope. Always keep in mind that cleanliness is the key to getting rid of strep throat.
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