If you experience a sudden and intense throat pain, fatigue and you are also running a fever, you may have strep throat. What causes strep throat? Strep throat gets its name from the Streptococcus pyogene, a bacterium that lives in your oral cavity and throat. Although 20% of people have this bacterium during the cold seasons, the bug does not cause any symptoms. Carriers cannot spread the bacteria and do not need to be tested.
However, sometimes the immune system in weakened from too much stress or from fighting other diseases, like the common flu, and you start manifesting the symptoms. The inactive strep bacteria can suddenly start releasing inflammatory substances and toxins, causing your throat to be sore. That is why strep throat arrives in a hurry and can cause serious complications.
This bacterial infection is usually affected in young kids and young adolescents but adults can also get this sickness as well just not as common. You need to look out for signs of people around you and see if they are starting to get sick. Protect yourself as much as you can in sick season. Remember to wash your hands with hot water and soap to kill the germs that are living on your hands!
To fully understand this disease, you must be aware of what causes strep throat and how you can get it. The infection is caused by Group A Streptococcus (GAS) bacteria called Streptococcus pyogene. Sometimes it can be caused by groups C and G strep bacteria. The organisms also live on the skin as well and are responsible for other diseases, such as impetigo, a skin infection. The streptococci are highly contagious and can be passed from hand to hand contact and by sneezing, coughing and touching infected objects.
The real main cause of you getting strep throat is the passing of bacteria from person to person. Through the air the bacterial infection spreads through airborne droplets. This happens when someone near you or in a room with you coughs or sneezes/ the droplets go into the air and spread like wildfire. You can also pick up this bacterial infection from door knobs, desks, shared food or drinks, and these all have to touch either your mouth, eyes, or nose.
There are some symptoms with this bacterial infection that you should be aware of especially if you suspect that you or your children are getting sick. Usually you will feel some throat pain; it could be mild in the beginning but it will get severe. When you drink or eat something your throat will feel clogged with something. It should feel like a painful swallow. The last thing that you should see in your throat is that your tonsils are swollen and red!
You may also get some other symptoms that wo;; occur but it doesn’t mean its strep unless you have those above symptoms. You may get a bad headache along with a high fever. You even may get those sick aches where you just feel very weak. The last thing you may see when getting this bacterial infection is nausea or vomiting. Remember to take your children to the doctor if they have any of these symptoms because strep throat is worse from them than adults.
Strep throat thrives in crowded areas where people are in close contact, such as hospitals, because there are more vulnerable people around who favor the spreading of the bacteria. Moreover, hospital workers and patients can carry the GAS on their hands. Children who attend daycare and the people who work there are exposed to strep throat. The infection also spreads easily in schools and among family members.
Another risk factor for you to be aware about is the time of the year the infection is most present. Typically in the winter and fall season this infection is among more people. You can get it any time of year but this is the time most people get it. Make sure you bundle up yourself and your children with warm heavy clothes during these seasons. It will help them in the cold weather and around people coughing near them.
Knowing what causes strep throat can help you prevent this serious illness. Heavy drinking and smoking can irritate the lining of the throat, favoring the growth of the latent bacteria. Persistent heartburn can irritate the throat if the digestive acids arise. Children between the ages of 15 and 5 and people with a weak immune system from diabetes, AIDS or cancer treatment are more exposed. Although this illness can occur all year round, it is more common in early spring and fall.
Left untreated, strep throat continues to spread to other people. It can even spread to other tissues and cause serious infections and abscesses. In rare cases, it can cause rheumatic fever that can lead to heart damage. Although this illness causes many unpleasant symptoms, it can be easily cured with antibiotics. Many people mistake sore throat with the common cold and they fail to seek medical care. If you experience any symptoms, contact your medical health care professional.
You will need antibiotics to help you cure this bacterial infection. The most common used antibiotic for this is amoxicillin from the penicillin family. Some people are allergic to penicillin and if that is the case your doctor might prescribe cephalexin from the cephalosporin family. You can also take over the counter medicine for the pain such as any acetaminophen products such as Tylenol, equate, Advil, ibuprofen. Remember to talk to your pediatrician about something to give your child because they won’t be able to take the products above.