How To Prevent Strep Throat
Theres no vaccine available to prevent strep throat. One of the most effective ways to help avoid infection is regularly washing your hands. If you cant access soap and water, you can use a hand sanitizer instead.
Dont share drinks or food with someone who has strep throat. If someone in your home has strep throat, dont share their towels, sheets, or pillowcases. Wash dishes and laundry in water thats hot and soapy.
Parents of children with strep throat can help stop the spread to other family members by:
- keeping the childs eating and drinking dishes separate
- not sharing food, drinks, napkins, cloths, or linens between the child and others
- having the child cover all coughs and sneezes
- enforcing regular hand washing among everyone in the household
- replacing the childs toothbrush after the course of antibiotics ends
If you have strep throat, sneeze or cough into the crook of your elbow or a tissue rather than into your hand. Be sure to wash your hands frequently. Explore more ways to prevent strep throat.
Can I Prevent Strep Throat
If someone in your house has strep throat, you might get it. But following these tips can help protect you:
- The person with strep throat should cover their mouth when sneezing and coughing. If they don’t have a tissue handy, they should cough or sneeze into their elbow not their hands!
- Don’t handle used tissues or other germy items.
- Wash your hands well and often, especially before eating.
- Wash dishes, drinking glasses, knives, forks, and spoons in hot, soapy water.
Strep throat is no fun, but after feeling sick for 2 or 3 days, most kids start getting back to normal. In other words, they feel less streppy and more peppy!
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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What Is Strep Throat Caused By
Strep throat is a painful infection in the throat caused by streptococcal bacteria. This type of bacteria is extremely contagious and can be spread by coughing, sneezing, or sharing food and drinks. If your child touches a surface with the bacteria, like a doorknob, and then touches their mouth or nose, the bacteria may also spread this way. Often, a person may be carrying strep without exhibiting any symptoms.
A Pharmacist Can Help With Sore Throats
You can ask a pharmacist about ways of relieving the pain and discomfort of a sore throat, such as:
- medicated lozenges containing a local anaesthetic, antiseptic, or anti-inflammatory medicine
- anaesthetic spray
You can buy these treatments from a supermarket or from a pharmacist without a prescription.
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Disclaimer Because You Know These Days
In case its not clear, I am not a doctor, nor do I play one in the movies. I am a mother who researches everything and who was raised by a mother who is a naturopath, learning from her over the past twenty-something years. So, you know the deal, consult with a doctor OR a natural practitioner about the information I provide. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links.
Personal Stories About Taking Antibiotics For Sore Throat
These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.
I was sick a lot as a kid, and I was always taking medicine. Maybe it helped at the time. But in the past few years, when Ive gotten a bad sore throat or sinus infection, antibiotics havent worked. Ive had to try two or three different ones each time. That gets expensive. The next time I get a sore throat, Im going to try just staying home, resting, and taking care of myself instead of taking antibiotics.
My 8-year-old daughter got strep throat last month. I thought it was just a cold, and I kept her home from school for a few days. But she wasnt getting better and she felt so miserable. I was also worried about ear infections. She gets a lot of those too. The doctor did a strep test and suggested she take antibiotics. Amy started feeling better a few days later. I think antibiotics were the right way to go this time.
My insurance doesnt pay for all of my medicines, so I try to make sure I really need the ones I do take. The last time I had a bad cold, my throat got really sore. The pain made it hard for me to swallow. I called my doctors office and the nurse said I could come in if I felt I needed a prescription. I thought Id wait and see instead. I took ibuprofen and drank a lot of tea and honey, and in a few days I felt better. Im glad I didnt spend the money on a doctor visit and medicine.
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What Is A Strep Test
A strep test looks for Streptococcus bacteria in the throat. The test is painless and takes very little time. The tip of a cotton swab is used to wipe the back of the throat. The swab is then tested.
The rapid strep test takes approximately 20 minutes. If the test is positive , the patient has strep throat. If the test is negative , the doctor may send the throat swab to a laboratory to double-check the results. Some doctors may not do a rapid strep test and instead just send the throat swab to the laboratory.
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Does Strep Throat Require Antibiotic Treatment
The short answer is yes. Unlike ear infections, which can be bacterial or viral in nature, strep throat is always caused by bacteria , Moore clarifies. Therefore, best practice is to prescribe antibiotics to prevent future problems and stop the spread of the infection.
While there are times when strep could go away without antibiotics, the problem is that some of those cases could have negative outcomes, especially for very young or elderly patients, says Moore. Complications can include abscesses inside the throat or on the tonsils, rheumatic fever, and even post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis, which is a rare inflammation of the kidneys.
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What Matters Most To You
Your personal feelings are just as important as the medical facts. Think about what matters most to you in this decision, and show how you feel about the following statements.
Reasons to take antibiotics for a sore throat
Reasons not to take antibiotics for a sore throat
I want to take medicine even if there’s only a chance it will help me get well faster.
I may not want to take medicine if it won’t help me get well faster.
I’m worried about my sore throat turning into an ear infection or sinus infection.
I’m not worried about my sore throat turning into an ear infection or sinus infection.
I’m not worried about the risk of taking antibiotics too often.
I’m worried about the risks of taking antibiotics too often.
I’ve had a sore throat for more than a week, and it’s not getting better.
I’ve had a sore throat for just a few days.
Causes Of Sore Throat
Both viruses and bacteria can cause a sore throat. Strep throat is a bacterial infection that is caused by a family of bacteria called group A Streptococcus . It is more common in children, but people of all ages can get strep throat. However, strep throat is responsible for only a small number of sore throats. Viruses are the more common cause of sore throats.
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Related Resources For Strep Throat
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This article is not medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911.
Are There Home Remedies For Strep Throat
Home remedies for strep throat should only be used in conjunction with antibiotic treatment. Otherwise the infection can get worse and spread. In addition to antibiotic treatment there are some home remedies you can use for symptom relief: Drink plenty of fluids, consume cold liquids and foods, use a cold humidifier, suck on throat lozenges, mix about one to two teaspoons of salt in eight ounces of water.
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What Should You Do If You Have A Sore Throat
You might know that your sore throat was caused by something like an overuse injury. If so, then you may just need to give your throat a little rest.
If you have an underlying cause such as allergies or reflux, treating that condition should help your sore throat symptoms get better sooner.
If youre not sure whats causing your sore throat, you should see your healthcare provider to evaluate for possible causes such as strep or COVID-19.
You can often help your sore throat feel better by using simple home remedies, like good old fashioned honey .
How Contagious Is Strep Throat
Strep throat is a highly contagious bacterial infection.
It usually spreads through small respiratory droplets that become airborne when someone with strep throat sneezes or coughs. Learn more about why strep throat is so contagious.
Strep throat is more common in children than in adults. It most commonly occurs in children and adolescents between the ages of 5 and 15.
Because its so contagious, strep throat can easily spread where children congregate, like in daycare centers and schools.
Adults who are frequently around children, like parents of school-aged children, may also be more susceptible to strep throat.
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What Does Strep Throat Look Like Symptoms
Some of the signs of strep throat will be visible. They may include
- white patches on the tonsils or throat,
- dark red splotches or spots on the roof of the mouth, and
- a skin rash.
Those white spots are pus pockets. In addition, some patients may exhibit swollen, tender lymph nodes in the neck and some with fever above about 101-102 F. The signs and symptoms are the same for both children and adults.
Although these signs may indicate strep, a visit to the doctor is necessary to make a full determination. A full diagnosed is impossible by visual signs alone.
Adults are less likely to have this disease than children. For school-age children, their odds of a sore throat being strep are about 20% to 30%. For adults, the odds are more like 5% to 15%.
What Is Scarlet Fever
Scarlet fever is the name given to a bright red rash that develops following a Strep throat, although it can also develop following school sores .
Scarlet fever is less common than it was one hundred years ago because of antibiotic use and it only occurs in those who are susceptible to the toxins produced by the Streptococcal bacteria. It mostly occurs in children aged 4 to 8 years. By 10 years old more than 80% of children have developed lifelong protective antibodies against streptococcal toxins, whilst infants younger than 2 still have antibodies against the toxin that they acquired from their mother. This means that if two children in one family develop Strep throat, only one may develop scarlet fever.
Scarlet fever is a bright red rash that feels like sandpaper to the touch. The rash typically starts on the neck, underarm, or groin as small, flat red blotches that gradually become fine bumps and feel rough to the touch. In the body folds the rash may appear a brighter red . Facial flushing is common although a pale area may remain around the mouth. After seven days, the rash fades and some skin peeling may occur over the next month or longer, particularly around the fingertips, toes, and groin area.
Left untreated, Scarlet fever may progress to:
- Ear, sinus, and skin infections
- Joint inflammation
- Rheumatic fever
- Otitis media
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Those Who Dont Take Antibiotics But Use Natural Remedies
We have recorded a lot of cases with strep throat do not use antibiotics, but natural remedies for combating it. Thats why, if you ask how long does strep throat last without antibiotics?, we will mention the length of time it will take for strep throat to fade away when using natural remedies, not to use antibiotics.
Doctors also confirmed that antibiotics could be one of the best ways to enable the symptoms of strep throat to disappear quicker than others. Nevertheless, due to its particular downside or doubts about whether it has negative impacts on the long-term health or not, natural methods or thought of letting it go away on its own are more preferred .
Lets get back to the main point. You have to make sure that you are not in trouble with any health issues. In that situation, natural remedies could work best for your strep throat.
For those who prefer this treatment without antibiotics, the patients will completely recover within 48 hours. It is true when you get no other serious health problems like fever, to be more specific.
What Are The Risks Of Taking Antibiotics For A Sore Throat
Every time you take antibiotics, some bacteria escape the drug. Over time, these bacteria become stronger and cause more serious infections. To treat them, you may need different antibiotics that are stronger and more expensive. Thats why it is important that you only take antibiotics when you need them. Failure to do so could mean that antibiotics will not work when you need them in the future.
Indeed, antibiotic resistance is a growing global threat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections in the U.S. each year, and over 35,000 people die as a result.
Other reasons to avoid unnecessary antibiotic use are that these medications can cause many side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin rashes. Also, you need a doctor’s visit to get a prescription, and antibiotics cost money.
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What Stands Out About Yale Medicines Approach To Strep Throat
As an academic medical center, Yale Medicine offers access to highly trained and experienced pediatric specialists, including surgeons specializing in treating children with ear, nose and throat problems. These specialists are at the top of their respective fields in advanced treatment methods and clinical research.
Also, Yale Medicine is one of the few places where surgeons can offer partial tonsillectomy, which can mean a quicker and less painful recovery for children who are appropriate candidates.
Home Remedies For Strep Throat
Since strep throat takes 1-2 weeks to go away, even on antibiotics, some home remedies can help to reduce pain and make you more comfortable while you wait for your symptoms to improve.
Other home remedies that may be popular are not proven and could actually make things worse.
These eight remedies are safe to try.
Always ask your doctor or provider if you are not sure if a home remedy or over-the-counter treatment is right for your condition.
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Key Points To Remember
- People often think antibiotics will cure their sore throat. But most sore throats are caused by a virus, such as a cold. Antibiotics won’t work for sore throats caused by a virus.
- 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.
- To relieve the pain from a sore throat, you can take over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin or ibuprofen, or you can try lozenges or nasal sprays. Drink lots of fluids and get plenty of rest.
- Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to shorten the time you are able to spread strep throatwhich is caused by bacteriato others. Antibiotics will help prevent a serious but rare problem called rheumatic fever.
- Taking antibiotics too often or when you don’t need them can be harmful and costly. And the medicine may not work the next time you take it when you really do need it. This is called antibiotic resistance.
How Is Strep Throat Diagnosed
If you have a sore throat accompanied by fever for more than two days, you should visit a doctor. At your doctors visit, you may be asked questions such as:
- How long have you had your symptoms?
- Have you recently been exposed to strep throat?
- Does anything relieve your symptoms?
- Do you have any other medical conditions?
During the appointment, your doctor will likely examine you by taking your temperature, feeling your neck for swollen lymph nodes, and visually inspecting your throat. Based on this examination, your doctor may run one of two tests to check for sore throat:
- A rapid antigen test or rapid strep test may be administered if strep throat is suspected. During this test, your doctor will swab the back of your throat for a sample. The antigen test can detect strep bacteria within a few minutes, but it is an imperfect test. If the test comes back negative, but your doctor suspects strep, he or she may perform a throat culture.
- Throat cultures are done by taking a swab of the back of the throat and then sending it for culture in a laboratory. This test can take up to two days, whereas the rapid antigen test only takes minutes.
Based on the results of the strep test your doctor may write you a prescription for antibiotics. During this appointment, you should ask any questions you may have, including:
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