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Sore throat Overview

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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
    • sneezing
    • coughing
    • 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
  • Fever
  • Large lymph nodes
  • a headache
  • chills
  • 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

Diagnosis

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

  • Prevention is by washing hands and not sharing eating utensils.

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