Not all sore throats are “strep throats.” Strep throat is a bacterial infection (Bacterium Group A Streptococcus) and can cause more damage than your average “sore throat.” Your medical health professionals at your family healthcare clinic in Nashville, Clinica Hispana La Paz, can help determine if your sore throat is a strep throat or not.
Causes of Strep Throat
Group A Streptococcus bacteria is responsible for causing strep throat. This bacteria is contagious and can spread through coughing, sneezing, sharing food/drink, and touching common surfaces, just to name a few. This condition is more common in children, since they touch everything. Washing your hands with warm water after touching objects, coughing and/or sneezing can help prevent the spread.
Symptoms of Strep Throat
Strep throat will likely have the following symptoms
- Throat pain
- Pain when swallowing
- Red/swollen tonsils
- Possible white patches on the tonsils
- Swollen and tender lymph nodes
- Body aches
- Nausea or vomiting
Your best option, if you have some or all of these symptoms, is to visit your Nashville family health clinic, Clinica Hispana La Paz for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Diagnosis of Strep Throat
Your doctors at Clinica Hispana La Paz will conduct a physical exam, check your symptoms, and may run some tests to diagnose strep throat, such as:
- Rapid antigen (strep) test – Your doctor will collect a swab sample of your throat to perform a rapid antigen test. It will help detect the presence of strep bacteria. In situations where the test results come back negative, but your doctor still suspects strep throat, he/she may perform a throat culture.
- Molecular (Polymerase Chain Reaction or PCR) test – This additional test can narrow down the cause of your sore throat.
- Throat culture – This is a much more involved test, takes longer, but is more accurate. In children and teens it is usually recommended since they can get “rheumatic fever.” Rheumatic fever is a condition that can inflame or make the heart, joints, brain, and skin swell which is never a good thing, especially in a child. Adults are less likely to get “rheumatic fever.”
Treatment of Strep Throat
If your doctor diagnoses strep throat, they might prescribe oral antibiotics. Taking these medications within 48 hours of the onset of your illness will greatly help reduce the duration and severity of your infection; and it will help reduce the risk of complications and the possibility of infection spreading to others.
Prevention of Strep Throat
The following tips can help prevent strep throat infection
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water
- Teach children how to wash their hands properly with soap and water.
- You should cover their mouth with elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid sharing items like drinking glasses, utensils, etc.
If left untreated, strep throat can lead to complications like rheumatic fever or kidney problems. Do not ignore your symptoms and visit your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Clinica Hispana La Paz offers comprehensive healthcare services in Nashville. If you experience a sore throat or have concerns that you might have developed strep throat, visit us; we can help.