Strep throat is one of a parent’s biggest fears for their children—but adults are just as likely to develop a nasty case of strep throat themselves. This condition is a bacterial infection that develops in the throat and in the tonsils specifically. The throat reacts to the infection by becoming inflamed, causing severe throat pain.
Just as with all bacterial infections, there are many “types” of strep throat a person can develop, and some are potentially fatal, while some are relatively easy to treat. It is important to recognize the difference between strep throat and a viral infection that merely causes sharp throat pain.
The most obvious symptom of strep throat is a lack of coughing, sneezing or a runny nose—defining characteristics of the common cold. On the other hand, strep throat is identified by quick and severe pain, a fever, swollen tonsils or lymph nodes, and perhaps colored spots on the back of your throat. Sometimes patients with strep throat also report suffering headaches, stomach pain, and vomiting or even skin rashes.
How Strep Throat is Passed
Strep throat is unfortunately highly transmittable from person to person. Whenever an infected person goes out in public, he or she can pass the condition to someone else just by breathing, coughing or sneezing. You might not even know that you have the condition until a week or so from the first exposure.
So, right away we can see that the best way to avoid strep throat is to avoid people who are sick. You can’t always pinpoint who’s a “carrier” but you can take logical steps to prevent accidental exposure, namely by avoiding areas in which people are coughing or sneezing, washing your hands or applying hand sanitizer before touching others. For that matter, be careful about touching common objects of potentially infected people, such as books, doorknobs or furniture. It is also a wise idea to naturally strengthen your immune system by reducing stress, getting plenty of sleep, drinking lots of water and taking it easy for a change.
Latent Strep Throat?
Odd as it may seem, the Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria strain can actually lie dormant inside your mouth for months on end, and never show any symptoms at all. Not only do these people not feel the symptoms, but they don’t even spread the bacteria to others.
However, this infection is nasty and can “activate” very quickly, particularly if you are stressed out physically or are exposed to a common flu virus. Once this dormant infection activates, you will definitely feel the pain and by that point, it will be time to go to the doctor.
This should emphasize the importance of seeing an ENT doctor on a regular basis, just so he can check for any signs of strep throat or other throat problems. If you don’t have anything living within you, then no problem! However, if you do have signs of strep throat it is imperative to diagnose and treat the problem, typically by antibiotic medication.
While some cases of strep throat do go away, other types can be very injurious and perhaps even fatal. What makes this infection particularly threatening is the fact that it can spread to other tissues, intensifying the infected area, and perhaps even reaching sensitive areas involved in keeping the heart or kidney healthy.
Remember, this condition strikes when you are at your weakest ebb. Try to stay active, healthy and always eating healthy foods and vitamins. This is to best way to avoid the agonizing pain of strep throat. For more information on battling the condition or avoiding it in the first place, have a friendly chat with your ENT doctor.