What is strep throat?
Strep throat is an infection caused by Streptococcus pyogenes, a group A Streptococcus. The main symptom is a sore throat, although not all sore throats are caused by this bacteria. Actually, most of them are caused by a virus. The most common strep throat symptoms include a high fever, white patches on the tonsils and in the throat, enlarged lymph nodes, nausea, enlarged tonsils, loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and stomach pain. Because the treatment involves antibiotics and without them the patient is exposed to serious complications, it is important to know how to prevent strep throat.
Who is at risk?
Although strep throat is common in children between the age of 5 and 15, anyone can get it. Because this infection is highly contagious, people who work in crowded environments are more exposed. You must also watch for strep throat during the school year, especially in the colder months when large groups of children are in close quarters and the rick of an outbreak is higher. The bacteria flourish wherever groups of people are in close contact, spreading easily in hospitals, schools, child care settings and among family members. If you are at risk, make sure you know how to prevent strep throat effectively.
Avoid contact. The best way to prevent getting infected is to avoid contact with people who already have strep throat. The bacteria is spread by shaking hands, coughing, sneezing, touching infected objected such as tables, books and door knobs and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose.
Humidify your home. During the dry winter months you can humidify your home to prevent strep throat. The humidity in the air maintains the mucous membrane moist, thus making it more resistant to the strep bacteria. However, if a member of your family has asthma or allergies, you must learn how to prevent strep throat in a different way.
Wash your hands regularly. The best way to prevent strep throat during outbreaks is to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water. When you leave home, make sure you have a liquid antibacterial hand sanitizer with you. It is important to teach the practice to your kids and other family members.
Fortify your immune system. Enhance your body’s resistance with a healthy diet and plenty of rest. It may also be helpful to reduce stress and exercise regularly. Smoking can make you more vulnerable to strep throat, because it irritates the throat.