Strep throat is a sore throat caused by bacteria known as Streptococcus pyogenes, or group A streptococcus.“Sore throat” is the general term for any condition where the throat feels scratchy, tender, and possibly painful. Strep throat, however, is a sore throat caused by a specific strain of bacteria. It may also be referred to as Streptococcal pharyngitis or streptococcal sore throat. Sore throats are more common among children and adolescents.
A sore throat is the main sign you or your child has strep. Colds and other viruses can also cause a sore throat.
The symptoms typically develop within five days of exposure to the strep bacteria.With strep, the sore throat comes on quickly and is more likely to cause these other symptoms as well:
• A fever of 101 F or higher
• Red, swollen tonsils
• Pain when you swallow
• Swollen and/or tender lymph nodes at the front of your neck
• White patches in the throat
• Tiny red spots on the roof of the mouth (called petechiae)
• Appetite loss
• Body aches
• Nausea, vomiting
• Loss of appetite
Signs that the infection might be viral rather than strep include having a:
• Runny nose
• Hoarse voice
• Pinkeye (also called conjunctivitis)
• Strep throat is caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pyogenes or group A Streptococcus (also known as group A strep, or GAS).
• You can become infected with strep throat if you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth after being exposed to these bacteria.
• Along with coughing and sneezing, strep throat can be spread when you share food or a drink with someone who’s infected.
• You can also get strep throat by coming into contact with an object contaminated with group A strep bacteria, such as a doorknob or faucet, and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Risk Factors –
Several factors can increase your risk of strep throat infection:
• Young age.
Strep throat occurs most commonly in children.
• Time of year.
Although strep throat can occur anytime, it tends to circulate in winter and early spring. Strep bacteria flourish wherever groups of people are in close contact.
Strep infection may lead to inflammatory illnesses, including:
• Glomerulonephritis- inflammation of kidneys
• Rheumatic fever- a condition in which the heart, joints, skin and nervous system is infected.
• Mastoiditis- infection of mastoid. Mastoid is a part of the skull behind the jaw.
• Scarlet fever– which is caused by toxins of bacteria and is characterised by scarlet rash.
• Infection of the sinuses that is sinusitis
• Guttatepsoriasis- a skin condition in which tear drop scales appear on the surface of the skin.
• Peritonsiller abscess, that is formation of pus near tonsils.
Your doctor will conduct a physical exam, look for signs and symptoms of strep throat, and probably order one or more of the following tests:
• Rapid antigen test. This test can detect strep bacteria in minutes by looking for substances (antigens) in the throat.
• Molecular (polymerase chain reaction, or PCR) test. This test is also done using a swab sample from your throat.
• Throat culture. A sterile swab is rubbed over the back of the throat and tonsils to get a sample of the secretions.
As strep throat is a bacterial infection, your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic to treat it. These medications inhibit the spread of bacteria and infections. Several types of antibiotics are available.
It’s important that you finish your antibiotic treatment course to kill the infection completely. Most treatments last for about 10 days.Some people stop taking their medication when symptoms improve, which can trigger a relapse. If this happens, the symptoms can return.
Penicillin and amoxicillin are the most common medications given for a strep infection.You can also take medications to ease the pain of strep throat and lower fever including over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Don’t give aspirin to children or teens. It can cause a rare but dangerous condition called Reye’s syndrome.
Home Remedies –
There are a number of things you can do at home to lessen pain and make you feel more comfortable:
• Gargle with a mixture of a quarter-teaspoon of salt and 8 ounces of warm water.
• Suck on a throat lozenge or piece of hard candy. Don’t give small pieces of candy to children younger than 4.
• Throw out your toothbrush and use a new one.
• Drink warm liquids such as tea and broth and drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration
• Suck on something cold such as an ice pop or ice chips.
• Choose soft foods that are easy to swallow such as soups, applesauce, or oatmeal. Pass on orange juice and other drinks that have a lot of acid. They’ll sting.
• Honey can help ease pain and inflammation.
• Use a humidifier and/or saline nasal sprays to keep your airways moist, which will help you feel more comfortable.
• Get lots of rest so that your body can recover from the infection
Ayurvedic Perspective –
Ayurvedic treatments are based on doshas and prakriti of our body. Inflammation, pain, redness in the strep throat indicates the involvement of pitta. Whereas the dryness and burning sensation which are sometimes seen in strep throat indicate that pitta and vata are acting together.
There are several treatments mentioned for reliving throat problems. These include –
• Application of herbs on throat (lepa)
Paste of Neem along with mahasudarshan, turmeric, jasmine and sandalwood can be applied on the throat. These herbs act as anti-bacterial agents. Some of them are anti-inflammatory too. Besides this they also help in stabilising vitiated pitta. Sweet moistening agents like liquorice root can be added to balance Vata.
• Tankan bhasm
Tankan bhasm should be dissolved in warm water and you can gargle with it. Similarly you can gargle with fenugreek powder and cardamom powder.
• Liquorice root decoction
Take 1teaspoon of liquorice root in 2cups of water. Boil it in medium flame till it becomes 1/4th. Drink it warm. You can also add a little honey to it.
Triphala is the powder which consists of Amla (Emblica officinalis) haritiki (Terminalia chebula) and vibheetki (Terminalia bellirica).Triphla acts as a detoxifier and is rich in Vitamin C. Thus, it helps in clearing throat.
• Chewing herbs
Cloves and betel leaves can be chewed for relieving the symptoms of sore throat. This is one of the effective and easiest home remedies. Also cloves are being used for throat problems from the day symptoms.
Garlic acts as antibacterial and anti inflammatory because of its component allicin. It also helps in reducing pain and redness of throat. For using it you simply cut a clove of garlic into halves. Put these between your jaws and cheek. Take in all its juice and avoid biting it.
• Ayurvedic Formulations
▪︎ Khadiradi vati
▪︎ Lavangadi vati
▪︎ Eladi vati
▪︎ Arogyavardhini Vati
▪︎ Laxmivilas Ras
▪︎ Kanchnar Guggulu
The following tips may help reduce the frequency of sore throats, and probably help prevent complications:
• Nutrition – a well-balanced diet, rich in fruit and vegetables, whole grains, good quality fats (olive oil, avocado, etc.) and lean proteins will boost the immune system.
• Exercise – regular exercise helps the immune system.
• Get plenty of sleep – without enough sleep the immune system will eventually become weaker.
• Don’t smoke – people who smoke have significantly more bouts of sore throat compared to people who don’t; they are also more susceptible to throat complications.
• Keep hands clean – regular hand washing with soap and water is an effective way of preventing most infections.
• Cover the mouth when coughing – this protects other people. Coughing into the inside of the elbow, rather than into the hands, also makes it less likely that surfaces will become contaminated when touched.
• Isolate personal items – drinking glasses and eating utensils, for example, should not be shared if they have been used by somebody who has a sore throat.
For more informative articles on health related issues, please visit our website www.santripty.com and also feel free to consult.