Sore throat Overview
Streptococcal pharyngitis, also known as strep throat, is an bacterial infection that causes inflammation and sore, scratchy throat. It is caused by a group A streptococcus. Strep throat can affect children and adults of all ages but it is common in children between ages 5 to 15.
Spreading of infection
- Infection can be spread from one person to another by
- through respiratory droplets of infected person
- spread by skin infected with group A strep
Causes : Streptococcal pharyngitis is mainly caused by group A streptococcus bacteria.
Symptoms : The symptoms of strep throat typically develop within five days of exposure to the bacteria.Some people may carry the bacteria without symptoms. But common symptoms regarding strep throat are
- Sore throat
- Large lymph nodes
- a headache
- a loss of appetite
- swollen nymph nodes
- trouble swallowing
When to Consult you doctor
In some condition sore throat caused by other medical conditions usually improve on their own with or without treatment in a few days. Conditions are like
- a sore throat that lasts longer than two days
- a sore throat with white patches
- dark, red splotches or spots on the tonsils or the top of the mouth
- a sore throat with a fine, sandpaper-like pink rash on the skin
- difficulty breathing
- difficulty swallowing
A number of scoring systems exist to help with diagnosis, thought it is not correct method but Centor criteria are a set of five criteria; the total score indicates the probability of a streptococcal infection.
One point is given for each of the criteria:
- Absence of a cough
- Swollen and tender cervical lymph nodes
- Temperature >38.0 °C (100.4 °F)
- Tonsillar exudate or swelling
- Age less than 15 (a point is subtracted if age >44)
There is no treatment or culture required if the score is one,
In some conditions further testing is required when other high risk factors exist, such as a family member having the disease.
Testing is not needed in children under three as both group A strep and rheumatic fever are rare, unless a child has a sibling with the disease.
- Laboratory testing like throat culture etc.,
- Strep test
Treatment and prevention
- There is no vaccine for the disease, Treatment with antibiotics is only recommended in those with a confirmed diagnosis. Paracetamol (Acetaminophen), NSAIDS, antibiotics are used to treat strep throat. Penicillin and amoxicillin are the most common medications given for a strep infection.
- Prevention is by washing hands and not sharing eating utensils.