Learn When You Should Get Tested Best Practices For Treatment How To Contain The Contagion And Where To Go For Affordable Care
Oh, the wonders of winter. Snowball fights, skiing, hot cocoa, and strep throat?
Yes, the season of fun-filled pastimes and sparkling snow can also be marked by sickness. And this winter, our providers at Associates in Family Medicine are seeing higher-than-usual cases of strep throat.
While this bacterial bane on the winter season is familiar to most of us, our team of providers has noticed a number of misconceptions around strep throat. We talked to AFM physician and urgent care director Dr. Shelley Moore to get clarity on common strep throat symptoms, treatment options, spread, and more.
What Else Do You Need To Make Your Decision
Check the facts
- You’re right. Most of the time, sore throats go away on their own. It may take a few days or up to a week, depending on the cause.
- Sorry, that’s not right. Most of the time, sore throats go away on their own. It may take a few days or up to a week, depending on the cause.
- It may help to go back and read “Get the Facts.” Most of the time, sore throats go away on their own. It may take a few days or up to a week, depending on the cause.
- You’re right. Taking antibiotics too often or when you don’t need them can be harmful and costly. The medicine may not work the next time you take it when you really do need it.
- Sorry, that’s not right. Taking antibiotics too often or when you don’t need them can be harmful and costly. The medicine may not work the next time you take it when you really do need it.
- It may help to go back and read “Get the Facts.” Taking antibiotics too often or when you don’t need them can be harmful and costly. The medicine may not work the next time you take it when you really do need it.
- Sorry, that’s not right. Most sore throats are caused by a virus, such as a cold. Antibiotics won’t work for sore throats caused by a virus.
- You’re right. Most sore throats are caused by a virus, such as a cold. Antibiotics won’t work for sore throats caused by a virus.
- It may help to go back and read “Get the Facts.” Most sore throats are caused by a virus, such as a cold. Antibiotics won’t work for sore throats caused by a virus.
Why Do Doctors Prescribe Antibiotics For 10 Days
ByNicholas Gerbispublished 24 January 12
Most bacteria are harmless, even helpful you wouldnt hesitate to invite one into your home or digestive tract. In fact, several kinds already live there, symbiotically helping you digest food, destroying disease-causing cells and providing your body with the vitamins it requires.
Sometimes, though, you get a rough customer, something like Streptococcus, Staphylococcus or E. coli. It drops by uninvited, stirs things up and leaves you a feverish, swollen wreck. Whether its a boil, a bladder infection or a case of the clap, antibiotics such as amoxicillin are the weapons of choice for slowing or killing such bothersome bacteria.
Upon handing us our little white bag of healing, pharmacists traditionally instruct us to finish the entire 10-day prescription, even if our symptoms subside. Not doing so could mean a relapse or, in some cases, lead to more serious health consequences. Strep infections, for example, can cause heart problems if not properly treated.
But why 10 days? Why not seven or nine, or a nice round two weeks?
Simply put, 7 10 days is the Goldilocks number: Its not so brief a span that the bacterial infection will shake it off, but its also not long enough to cause an adverse reaction.
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Whats The Best Way To Avoid Getting Strep Throat
Strep is pretty common, and most people will get it at some point in their lives. But there are some common sense ways to avoid it:
Wash your hands regularly and correctly
If youâre sick, wear a mask to avoid spreading respiratory droplets
Avoid prolonged contact with someone who is sick
Donât share drink glasses or food with a sick person
If you practice good standard hygiene, itâll go a long way toward reducing your chances of getting strep.
Should I Stay Off Work With Strep Throat
People with strep throat should stay home from work, school, or daycare until they no longer have a fever and have taken antibiotics for at least 12 hours. This will help prevent spreading it to others. Wash your hands often to prevent the spread of germs that cause strep throat and other infections.
To Prevent Spreading The Infection:
14. Avoid Contact
As long as you have strep throat symptoms, dont sneeze or cough on others in order to stop the bacteria from spreading. Do not share glasses, utensils, plates or food with anyone for two weeks. Use a powerful and natural soap, like castile soap, to wash your dishes and the surfaces in your bathroom and kitchen counter.
15. Wash Your Hands
Be sure to wash your hands throughout the day, especially if you are around other people. Use an antibacterial soap to get rid of any trace of group A strep. One example is this Homemade Hand Soapwith castile soap and peppermint oil.
16. Replace Your Toothbrush
Replace your toothbrush when you first show symptoms of strep throat and then again after you are well. This will help you to avoid reinfecting yourself with another group A strep infection.
What Are The Recommended Dosages Of Antibiotics Used To Treat Strep Throat
Antibiotic dosages can vary depending on age and weight. The CDC recommends the following dosages of antibiotics for Strep throat, for those people without a penicillin allergy. One dosage regimen should be chosen that is appropriate for the person being treated.
Oral Penicillin V
- Children: 250mg twice daily or 250mg three times daily for 10 days
- Adolescents and adults: 250mg four times daily or 500mg twice daily for 10 days
- Children and adults: 50 mg/kg once daily for 10 days
- Children and adults: 25 mg/kg twice daily for 10 days
Intramuscular Benzathine penicillin G
- Children < 27 kg: 600 000 units as a single dose
- Children and adults 27 kg: 1 200 000 units as a single dose
The CDC recommends the following dosages of antibiotics for Strep throat, for those people with a penicillin allergy. One dosage regimen should be chosen that is appropriate for the person being treated.
- Oral cephalexin 20 mg/kg twice daily for 10 days
- Oral cefadroxil 30 mg/kg once daily for 10 days
- Oral clindamycin 7 mg/kg three times daily for 10 days
- Oral azithromycin 12 mg/kg once daily for the first day , followed by 6 mg/kg once daily for the next 4 days
- Oral clarithromycin 7.5 mg/kg twice daily for 10 days.
Also Check: Antibiotics Commonly Prescribed For Uti
So You Ask What Would Happen If You Dont Take Antibiotics For A Throat Infection
The answer is fairly simple probably nothing, based on the evidence.
Most throat infections are viral, at least above 90%, and these will be fought off by the bodys immune system. Antibiotics do not help these infections and add to the growing bacterial resistance problem in the world, not to mention the devastation to our microbiome .
Of the infections that are bacterial, Streptococcus A is the main one that we treat. Before antibiotics, people got the infection, their immune system kicked in, and they fought off the bacteria. This would likely be the case for most people today.
What Are The Treatment Options For Strep C
Most doctors will then treat them with antibiotics, because strep C is a severe illness that may cause sinus abscesses, ear infections and even rheumatic fever if left untreated. It may even be fatal to young children. Penicillin is the standard antibiotic used to treat strep C, curing up to 90% of cases.
Recommended Reading: Antibiotics With Lowest Risk Of C Diff
Home Remedies For Strep Throat Symptoms
The scratchy, burning pain of a sore throat can make life miserable. From sipping water to answering the phone, everyday tasks are suddenly painful challenges.
While its common to think you may have strep throat, the bacterial infection can only be diagnosed by a throat swab test.
If you test positive for strep, its important to take any prescribed medications, including antibiotics, as not doing so can lead to serious health complications such as rheumatic fever or heart murmurs.
It usually takes only a day or two after starting antibiotics to feel better, but in the meantime, there are some things you can do to help ease the symptoms, including some quick and easy home remedies for strep throat.
How Can You Tell If You Have Strep Throat
The only way to diagnose strep throat is with a throat swab. Your healthcare provider will rub the back of your throat with a medical swab that looks like a long Q-tip. A rapid strep test or a throat culture can look for the streptococcus bacteria on the swab.
But how can you tell if its worth going to get a strep test in the first place? Your symptoms will give you an important clue.
When sore throats are caused by viruses, people usually experience some or all of the following:
Daycare center workers
Healthcare providers who work with children
If you have symptoms that are more consistent with strep throat or if you are at risk of having strep throat because of your age or job you should see a healthcare provider for a strep test. If you arent sure about your symptoms or risk, its better to see a healthcare provider and have a strep test done. This is especially important for children and teens, as they are more likely to develop complications from strep throat.
Recommended Reading: What Antibiotics Are Good For An Ear Infection
How Long Is Strep Contagious
You might not have heard of strep throat infecting adults. But although strep throat is very common in children, it is also a significant cause of throat infection for adults. Because its a bacterial infection, its also contagious and requires you to maintain meticulous hygiene and avoid contact with others. But how long is strep contagious, and when can you resume your daily activities?
This post will discuss how strep throat infections work and the symptoms you can expect to experience. Next, well go into how contagious it is and what you can do to treat it.
A Simple Test Gives Fast Results
Only a rapid strep test or throat culture can determine if group A strep is the cause. A doctor cannot tell if someone has strep throat just by looking at his or her throat.
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.
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Argument #: Antibiotics Reduce Symptomology
The most important thing to recognize is that in the vast majority of patients, strep throat is a self limited disease that will get better in about 7 days with no treatment . The addition of antibiotics provides a modest benefit in terms of symptomology resolution . This benefit, however, is in comparison to placebo, which is not standard care. Supportive therapies including acetaminophen and NSAIDs may affect symptom improvement but there are no good studies on this. Finally, we must not forget about the potential additional side effects associated with antibiotics .
One therapy that has shown remarkable benefits in terms of symptoms is the use of corticosteroids. Hayward et al showed that corticosteroids increased the rate of symptom resolution at 24 hours with an NNT = 4 .
Bottom Line: If we are interested in making the patients symptoms resolve faster, corticosteroids are our best bet. I typically give 10 mg of decadron IM.
Should I Take Antibiotics
Most sore throats get better in a week to 10 days.
Doctors do not normally prescribe antibiotics for viral sore throats because they will not help relieve your symptoms or speed up the recovery process.
Your doctor may advise and prescribe antibiotics for you when
- They diagnose you with a bacterial infection or after your throat examination and throat swab test.
- You have pus formation in the tonsils.
You must complete the course if your doctor has advised you to take an antibiotic. This will avoid further complications such as the recurrence of an infection and the development of drug-resistant bacteria.
If your sore throat is caused by allergies, your doctor may prescribe medicines to treat them. If you have glandular fever , it may last for more than four weeks and can be cured with plenty of rest.
Antibiotics wont help you if you have viral infections. Your doctor may prescribe antiviral medicines for you in serious cases.
You should avoid taking antibiotics without a doctors prescription/advice.
Also Check: What Antibiotics Treat Gum Abscess
Skin Diseases Caused By Streptococci
Scarlet fever, impetigo or erysipelas are conditions caused by streptococci, with skin manifestation.
Their symptoms include fever, nausea, vomiting, redness of affected skin area and a typical rash or pimples.
Symptoms of scarlet fever also include a “strawberry tongue”.
Prompt medical attention is necessary, as well as antibiotic therapy.
Developing Strep Throat Immunity
The reason is that folks who take antibiotics for strep throat seem to get it over and over and over again. Sometimes they get strep throat again within mere days or weeks from the previous infection. Have you noticed this vicious cycle too?
Wouldnt it be a far better and healthier approach to fight it off one time and be done with it possibly for the rest of your life?
My retired MD Dad is of the philosophy that if you give the body a crutch every time it gets ill, it will always expect and demand that crutch. This results in immunity getting weaker over time. I have witnessed the truth of this philosophy through observation. Those who have the tendency to over-medicate their illnesses whether it be with antibiotics or even natural remedies can unwittingly experience a downside.
Attempting to squelch illness at the first sign of a sniffle, for example, is not a wise approach in my opinion even if nontoxic.
The immune system stays strong when it is allowed to fight and defeat an illness with no interference. Ideally, rest and nourishment only should be provided.
Now, I do think that much consideration needs to be given to the health of the individual before forgoing the meds. A child with autoimmune issues who is not eating well in the first place probably should just take the antibiotics.
On the other hand, a robust healthy child with no autoimmune illness who is consuming an excellent diet has a superb chance of handling the infection well with no intervention.
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Strep Throat Treatment Options
If your strep test comes back positive, your healthcare provider will most likely prescribe an antibiotic treatment. Once treatment starts, you should feel improvement within a day or two. It is very important to finish your antibiotics even if you feel better because strep throat can cause serious complications, such as rheumatic fever or glomerulonephritis , or turn into other serious infections within the streptococcal infection group, such as scarlet fever or impetigo. To manage the symptoms of strep throat there are over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen to reduce fever and pain, and at-home remedies like drinking plenty of water.
How Can I Avoid Getting Strep Throat
To steer clear of strep throat and its unpleasant symptoms, follow a couple of simple yet effective practices in your day-to-day life. First and foremost, wash your hands regularly. It doesnt need to be antibacterial soap, says Moore. Regular soap and water can wash away all the potential germs responsible for spreading strep throat. Moore also encourages people to avoid sharing drinks or foods with one another, even among family members.
If you already have strep throat symptoms or have been diagnosed with strep throat, keep in mind that you are typically most contagious when you have a fever. Once you have started taking antibiotics, the general rule of thumb is 24 hours or two doses of antibiotics for most prescriptions before you are no longer contagious, says Moore. As is the case when trying to escape strep throat, handwashing and avoiding close contact with other people are key to be sure you dont spread your strep infection.
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Is A 5 Day Course Of Antibiotics Enough
Researchers from the CDC level out that, when antibiotics are deemed obligatory for the remedy of acute bacterial sinusitis, the Infectious Diseases Society of America evidence-based medical follow pointers suggest 5 to 7 days of remedy for sufferers with a low danger of antibiotic resistance whove a