What are the signs of strep throat, and how is it treated?. Strep throat is actually a very common ailment that affects children and adults alike. It's highly contagious and it's a bacteria that is spread in secretions that come out of the nose and also through saliva that could come out of your mouth. So if you cough or sneeze on someone, or you've touched those secretions and you touch someone else, then that could infect another person. And that person can start to show signs of the illness 12 hours up to 5 days after becoming infected. So if you come in contact with someone that has strep throat, then in a couple of days, maybe you'll have it too. It's possible.
The most common symptoms include sore throat (it could just be as mild as a tickle, but it could be a severe sore throat), you may have a headache, fever, some people get body aches, and then it can also cause you to have a stomach ache. There are some children who just have a stomach ache, and stop eating and drinking well, because they have a sore throat and have no other way to communicate that to their parents, because they're so young. And after going on for a few days, the parents talk with the pediatrician, and they diagnose strep throat. So symptoms can vary widely.
If you suspect it, go to the doctor. And the way it's diagnosed is by doing a strep test. They take a big, long Q-tip and swab it in your throat. And there's a rapid strep test that can tell them in the office what the result is, and then it's also usually sent off for culture. So in a few days, they'll know for sure what it is. If the result is positive, then it needs to be treated with antibiotics. After taking antibiotics for 1 to 2 days, the person will usually feel better, but it's important to continue taking the medication even after you feel better, because the course is usually anywhere from 7 to 10 days, and you need to take it all.
If strep throat goes untreated, then it can actually lead to more serious problems, like rheumatic fever. It's rare, but it is possible, and there are people who have gotten really sick if strep throat is not treated, diagnosed in a timely manner and treated properly. So again, if you suspect it, then go to the doctor, and the way to know if you have it is by testing. In addition to taking antibiotics, talk with the doctor about over-the-counter pain relievers that will help you feel better. It will also reduce the fever. And drink cold things, avoid eating spicy foods or really crunchy things that might scratch your throat until your body is healed and you're feeling better. If you have more questions for me in the future, feel free to ask them on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/IntermountainMoms, and recommend us to your friends and family too.
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