How To Know When Antibiotics Are Necessary
Strep throat is common in children because its easily spread through a sneeze, cough, or sharing food, among other ways. Watch out for these symptoms:
- A fever
- Absence of cough
- Swollen lymph nodes
Doctors have to be selective about testing for strep throat, says Shulman. Strep throat is not diagnosed just by symptoms: There are two tests used to confirm it. The doctor or medical professional takes a throat swab, called a rapid strep test, or a throat culture. If the test comes back positive for the bacteria, then the doctor will usually prescribe an antibiotic.
But strep throat is a self-limited disease that will go away on its own, says Shulman. Antibiotics are not prescribed to treat strep itself, but to prevent serious complications, such as rheumatic fever. Also, after the initial 24 hours of taking antibiotics, people can go back to work or school because theyre not considered contagious anymore, though their symptoms may take a little longer to subside.
Patients should actually ask if they really need to take an antibiotic, says Waldetoft. Over here we are very concerned with antibiotic resistance and try to use narrow spectrum antibiotics whenever we can.
A Simple Test Gives Fast Results
A doctor will determine what type of illness you have by asking about symptoms and doing a physical exam. If they think you might have strep throat, they will swab your throat to test for strep throat. There are two types of tests for strep throat: a rapid strep test and throat culture.
A rapid strep test involves swabbing the throat and running a test on the swab. The test quickly shows if group A strep is causing the illness. If the test is positive, doctors can prescribe antibiotics. If the test is negative, but a doctor still suspects strep throat, then the doctor can take a throat culture swab. A throat culture takes time to see if group A strep bacteria grow from the swab. While it takes more time, a throat culture sometimes finds infections that the rapid strep test misses. Culture is important to use in children and teens since they can get rheumatic fever from an untreated strep throat infection. For adults, it is usually not necessary to do a throat culture following a negative rapid strep test. Adults are generally not at risk of getting rheumatic fever following a strep throat infection.
Someone with strep throat should start feeling better in just a day or two after starting antibiotics. Call the doctor if you or your child are not feeling better after taking antibiotics for 48 hours.
Managing Side Effects Of Antibiotics
While there are some cases in which you may be prescribed antibiotics for a common cold, these medications aren’t harmless. There are many side effects of antibiotics. Some are common, and others can be severe and potentially deadly.
- Allergic reactions
- Vaginal itching or yeast infections
- Nausea and vomiting
In a dataset from 2013 and 2014, adverse drug reactions caused 4 out of every 1,000 emergency room visits each year. The most common reason for the visit among children was an adverse reaction to antibiotics.
If you or your child is experiencing side effects from a prescribed antibiotic, make sure to tell your healthcare provider to be certain its nothing to worry about. Theyll also let you know if you should continue taking it or stop.
If youre taking antibiotics, here are a few things you can do to help ward off some side effects of antibiotics:
- Take a probiotic and eat fermented foods like yogurt and kefir.
- Limit sun exposure.
- Take your antibiotic as prescribed .
- Make sure to store it correctly .
- Ensure your healthcare provider knows about all other drugs and supplements youre taking.
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What Is The Best Home Remedy For Strep Throat
While there is no known cure for strep throat with home remedies, there are ways to treat the symptoms of sore throat. Some options to help alleviate the symptoms of strep throat at home include:
- Drinking plenty of warm liquids, such as hot tea, soups, or broth. This will alleviate some of the irritation of the sore throat and keep you hydrated. Adding honey, peppermint, licorice root, or ginger to your tea can also help soothe your throat.
- Eating something cold, like a popsicle, or sucking on hard candy or lozenges can also help relieve some of the throat soreness.
- Gargling with warm salt water may reduce swelling and irritation in the throat. Mix ¼ to ½ teaspoon of salt in 8 oz of warm water and gargle . This can be done every hour for relief.
- Getting plenty of rest to help your body fight the infection.
- Avoiding acidic foods that may irritate your throat, such as citrus fruits or tomatoes.
- Taking over-the-counter medications and pain relievers, such as Tylenol, Motrin, Aleve, or Advil may be used to help reduce fever and pain associated with strep throat.
- Running a humidifier can help keep mucous membranes moist and decrease some of the irritation caused by a strep throat infection.
Description Of The Intervention
The administration of antibiotics is likely to shorten the time to the remittance of symptoms and reduce the likelihood of complications in patients whose sore throat has a bacteriological aetiology . However, their benefits may be limited in the treatment of sore throat more generally . Traditionally, doctors have attempted to decide whether the cause of the infection is bacterial, especially when caused by the group A betahaemolytic Streptococcus . However, deciding the aetiological agent is difficult .
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How Can I Ease Sore Throat Pain
Treatment for a sore throat depends on the cause. Some general tips to relieve sore throat discomfort include:
- Drink warm fluids, such as hot tea with lemon or broth.
- Increase the total amount of fluids you drink. This keeps you hydrated and prevents your throat from getting dry.
- Gargle with salt water .
- If you are an adult, keep your throat moist with throat lozenges, ice chips, or hard candies. Do not give lozenges or hard candies to children under two years of age. They are a choking hazard. Instead, give your child a popsicle.
- Use a numbing throat spray or cold liquids to reduce pain.
- Use a humidifier or vaporizer to add moisture to rooms you spend time in, especially your bedroom when you are sleeping.
- Get plenty of rest â at least 8 hours of sleep a night.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist about possible over-the-counter medicines to try. Never give aspirin to children because it can cause Reyes syndrome. Do not give cough or cold medicines to children under four years of age unless your doctor tells you to.
More specific sore throat treatments based on its cause include the following:
To prevent infections that cause sore throat, wash your hands often , stay away from people who are sick and sneezing and coughing, and dont share utensils, food or drink with people who are sick.
Antibiotics Are Not Always Needed
Most of the time, antibiotics are not indicated for use in treating the common cold or flu. A Cochrane report analyzing the available research into the use of antibiotics to treat colds, published in 2013, found that antibiotics do not work for the common cold, and side effects of antibiotics used for the common cold are common.
White, yellow, or even green snot during your cold doesnt necessarily mean its a bacterial infection, so it isnt a reason to ask for antibiotics.
Overuse and overprescription of antibiotics when they arent effective leads to the development of antibiotic-resistant infections. Not only is this a big problem for the entire world, but antibiotics can have nasty side effects for the person taking them.
If you go to the healthcare provider with a cold, theyll generally treat your symptoms, including suggesting you:
- Hydrate with water or electrolyte sports drinks
- Rest and let your body heal
- Suck on lozenges, hard candies, or ice pops to soothe a sore throat
- Try antihistamines or decongestants for symptom relief
- Use saline nose drops or sprays or a neti potstyle sinus rinse to help clear congestion
- Take pain relievers and fever reducers, including Tylenol and Advil , to address those symptoms
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What Are Some Home Remedies For Sore Throat
If you dont have fever or any other concerning symptoms, you can try treating your sore throat at home. If your sore throat is from a virus, these remedies may help you feel better. Unfortunately, none of them will cure your sore throat or make it go away faster. Only time can do that. But while youre waiting, it helps to be as comfortable as possible.
If you have strep throat, these things can also help relieve your sore throat until the antibiotics start to kick in. People with strep throat usually start to feel better 24 to 48 hours after starting antibiotics.
What Is A Sore Throat
Sore throats can be painful and annoying. But most of the time they go away on their own. It may take a few days or up to a week, depending on the cause.
Most sore throats are caused by a virus, such as a cold. A bacterial infection can also cause a sore throat.
If you have a sudden, severe sore throat without coughing, sneezing, or other cold symptoms, you could have strep throat. Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the throat and tonsils. About 1 out of 10 sore throats in adults is caused by strep throat. This means that 9 out of 10 sore throats arenât strep.
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When And Why You Might Need An Antibiotic For A Cold
Daniel More, MD, is a board-certified allergist and clinical immunologist with a background in internal medicine.
Any given adult will get a cold at least a couple of times a yearusually in the fall and winter. Kids can get many colds, maybe even half a dozen or more a year. When you get a cold, also known as an upper respiratory tract infection, should you visit your healthcare provider and get antibiotics?
The truth is, antibiotics for respiratory infections arent going to make you feel better sooner, and they might even leave you with side effects that make you feel worse.
Colds are known medically as upper respiratory tract infections because theyre usually limited to the upper half of your respiratory systemthe nose, sinuses, upper throat, larynx, and pharynx. These infections dont, for example, include infections that affect your lungs, like pneumonia.
Upper respiratory tract infections are usually caused by viruses, like rhinovirus, coronavirus, or influenza, though rarely they are caused by bacteria. Bacteria that infect the upper respiratory tract are most often S. pyogenes , or sometimes H influenzae.
Due to the development and routine administration of the H. influenzae vaccine over the past 30 years, the incidence of this infection has dropped substantially.
Antibiotics may be prescribed in a few different situations:
Conventional Strep Throat Treatment
The most common strep throat treatment is antibiotics, such as penicillin or amoxicillin. Research suggests that just mentioning a sore throat to a doctor almost guarantees a prescription for antibiotics, even though viral infections cause 85 to 90 percent of sore throats in adults.
Studies show that antibiotics are only somewhat helpful when used for strep throat. They can improve symptoms at 3 to 4 days and cut the length of the illness by about half a day. Antibiotic treatment doesnt seem to affect time off from school or work.
Over-the-counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen are also used to relieve the pain related to strep throat.
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Why It Is Important To Do This Review
Internationally, guidelines recommend using penicillin as first choice when choosing to treat people with acute sore throat with antibiotics . However, some argue that cephalosporins are more effective and should therefore be preferred . Many physicians argue that occurrence of penicillin allergy should be taken into account when making a choice for an antibiotic. This review looked for evidence of penicillin allergy occurring in the available trials. In addition, in the presence of documented penicillin allergy, the side effect profile of eligible antibiotics can guide choice. Therefore, to provide healthcare providers with sufficient information to make an evidencebased choice, both treatment benefits and adverse events are compared.
What Cant Antibiotics Do
Remember that only bacterial infections can be cured with antibiotics, which means that antibiotics dont bring into play when dealing with common virus-caused diseases .
So, youd better ask the doctor. He/she will let you know that its necessary to prescribe other antiviral medicines so that your illness can be removed completely. For HOW LONG DOES STREP THROAT LAST WITHOUT ANTIBIOTICS, you might want to check out this post.
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Symptoms Of A Sore Throat
The classic symptom of a sore throat is pain at the back of the throat, which may be accompanied by various other symptoms depending on the underlying cause. You may experience:
- Respiratory problems
- Inflammation of the neck glands
- Problems in opening the mouth
The inflammatory discomfort associated with pharyngitis can be felt in the following areas:
- Roof of the mouth or soft palate
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Antibiotics Get You Well Fast
Doctors treat strep throat with antibiotics. Either penicillin or amoxicillin are recommended as a first choice for people who are not allergic to penicillin. Doctors can use other antibiotics to treat strep throat in people who are allergic to penicillin.
Benefits of antibiotics include:
- Preventing the bacteria from spreading to others
- Preventing serious complications like rheumatic fever
Someone who tests positive for strep throat but has no symptoms usually does not need antibiotics. They are less likely to spread the bacteria to others and very unlikely to get complications. If a carrier gets a sore throat illness caused by a virus, the rapid strep test can be positive. In these cases, it can be hard to know what is causing the sore throat. If someone keeps getting a sore throat after taking the right antibiotics, they may be a strep carrier and have a viral throat infection. Talk to a doctor if you think you or your child may be a strep carrier.
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What Is The Difference Between Strep Throat And Tonsillitis
The symptoms of strep throat and tonsillitis are same- sore throat, headache, fever and tiredness. Hence, people sometimes find it difficult to identify the two conditions.
Primarily, the difference between the two lies in the fact that tonsillitis is the inflammation of the tonsils while strep throat is a bacterial infection in the throat. This can further spread to the tonsils, and ears.
Are Strep Throats Contagious
Yes, Strep throats are contagious, and the bacteria are easily transmitted and spread by coughing or sneezing or after coming into contact with infected droplets, and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. Transmission of bacteria can also occur via contact with people with Scarlet fever, or other group A skin infections.
Without treatment, people with Strep throat can pass on the bacteria to others for one to two weeks after symptoms appear. The best way to prevent infection is to wash your hands often and always before eating or after being in contact with an infected person. Do not share utensils, linen, or personal items. People with Strep throat or scarlet fever should stay home for at least 24 hours after starting antibiotics or until they feel well enough to return to school or work.
How You Get Strep Throat
Group A strep live in the nose and throat and can easily spread to other people. People who are infected spread the bacteria by talking, coughing, or sneezing, which creates small respiratory droplets that contain the bacteria. They can also spread the bacteria from infected sores on their skin.
It usually takes two to five days for someone exposed to group A strep to become ill with strep throat.
It is important to know that some infected people do not have symptoms or seem sick. People sick with strep throat are much more contagious than those who do not have symptoms.
People can get sick if they:
- Breathe in respiratory droplets that contain the bacteria
- Touch something with those droplets on it and then touch their mouth or nose
- Drink from the same glass or eat from the same plate as a person infected with group A strep
- Touch sores on the skin caused by group A strep or come into contact with fluid from the sores
Rarely, people can spread group A strep through food that is not handled properly .
What Are The Best Ones
The go-to antibiotics for strep throat are penicillin and amoxicillin.
People who are allergic to penicillins may be prescribed a non-penicillin antibiotic, usually one of:
Your doctor will select the right one for you. Always check with your doctor and take the full course of prescription antibiotics as recommended.
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When To Call The Doctor Or Health Care Provider
- Develop a rash or diarrhea.
- Have a sore throat that lasts more than 3 days.
- Cant eat, drink, or show signs of dehydration .
- Do not pee for 6 or more hours. Urine is very dark.
- Have a dry, sticky mouth.
- Have no energy or are hard to wake up.
HH-I-122 11/89, Revised 5/22 Copyright 1989, Nationwide Childrens Hospital