Can An Online Doctor Treat Me For Strep Throat
Yes! HealthTap is here to help.
Our online doctors can meet you via video consultation and evaluate you for strep throat, order tests*, offer medical advice, and write prescriptions that are sent electronically to your nearest pharmacy. HealthTap members can compare costs at the nearest five pharmacies and save up to 75% off the cost of their prescriptions. Additionally, if you schedule an appointment with a primary care physician in our Virtual Primary Care clinic, you can text with your doctor for free after your appointment to discuss any questions or clarifications you may have.
*You may need to travel to an in-person clinic if testing for strep is needed.
Strep Throat In Teens: Care Instructions
Fever red and swollen tonsils painful or swollen neck glands Not all sore throats are strep throats. Often, kids have a sore throat because of a virus , which will usually clear up without medical treatment. Kids who do have strep throat might get other symptoms within about 3 days, such as: red and white patches in the throat trouble swallowing. Classic Symptoms of Strep Throat. Throat pain that usually comes on quickly. Painful swallowing. Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus. Tiny red spots on the area at the back of the roof of the mouth Swollen, tender lymph nodes in your neck.
Is The Patient Experiencing Repeated Exposure To Strep
Some patients are effectively treated for a strep infection with antibiotics, only to return to an environment where the infection continues to circulate. The patient then becomes re-infected and returns to the physician with a recurrent strep throat infection. Certain circumstances-crowded working conditions, schools, day care settings, and larger families-more frequently transmit strep. One small study and one case report have suggested that, in rare instances, dogs also may be carriers of strep however, other investigations have not corroborated this possibility.
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Other Sore Throats Don’t Need Special Medicine So Why Does Strep Throat
Most sore throats are caused by viruses, which cannot be cured with medicine you can only relieve the aches and pains. Viruses heal on their own and cannot be cured with antibiotics or other medicines.
Strep throat is caused by a bacterium. Infections caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics. Strep throat can lead to more serious illnesses, so it’s important to get it treated.
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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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.
Watch For These Strep Throat Symptoms
While a sore throat is the signature symptom associated with strep throat, there are often accompanying symptoms as well. This mild infection might cause other symptoms such as:
- Fast onset sore throat
- Vomiting or nausea
- Loss of appetite
Keep in mind that viral infections can also cause similar symptoms. If your child has a sore throat with any of the following symptoms, then it probably isnt strep throat:
- Pink eye
- Runny nose
Just because its a viral infection doesnt mean that there cant be a secondary bacterial infection as well. So if you wonder whether your child has strep throat, then it might be time to visit a doctor for a rapid strep test and official diagnosis.
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What To Eat And Drink:
5. Raw Honey
A daily dose of raw honey raises levels of health-promoting antioxidants in the body. This helps to boost the immune system and is one of several soothing strep throat home remedies. According to research published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, honeys healing property is due to its antibacterial activity, ability to maintain a moist wound condition and its thick consistency that helps to create a protective barrier to prevent infection. Studies have found that medical grade honeys have strong bactericidal activity to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria that cause several life-threatening infections in humans.
6. Bone Broth
Bone broth helps to keep you hydrated and it provides minerals that you need to boost your immune system. Its soothing and easy to eat when you are suffering from a sore throat or swollen tonsils due to strep throat. Bone broth contains minerals in forms that your body can easily absorb, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and sulphur. It also contains chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, the compounds sold as pricey supplements to reduce swelling and joint pain.
Instead of spending hours making bone broth from scratch, use protein powder made from bone broth to help you recover from strep throat quickly. Drink warm bone broth throughout the day.
7. Herbal Tea
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
When Is It Time To Go To The Doctor For A Sore Throat
In most cases, your sore throat will improve with at-home treatment. However, its time to see your doctor if a severe sore throat and a fever over 101 degrees lasts longer than one to two days you have difficulty sleeping because your throat is blocked by swollen tonsils or adenoids or a red rash appears.
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Side Effects Of Treatments
If left untreated, strep throat bacteria may spread to other parts of the body and lead to complications. These include:
- Scarlatina or scarlet fever is a red skin rash that feels like sandpaper. The rash fades in about 7 days and the skin may peel.
- A rare kidney disease called poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis may occur, which is the result of your bodys immune system trying to fight off the group A strep bacteria. Among its symptoms are dark reddish-brown urine and swelling in the face, hands, and feet.
- Small scaly teardrop-shaped spots that suddenly appear on the middle of the body and limbs called guttate psoriasis may occur. The spots may be itchy but arent contagious. Usually mild cases can be treated at home, but it may be severe in those with weakened immune systems.
- Pus can collect behind the tonsils. This is known as tonsillar abscess. This happens when the bacteria spreads to the surrounding tissues.
- Rheumatic fever is a rare complication that can cause severe illness in the heart, brain, joints, and skin. It typically develops about 14 to 28 days after strep throat and can result in permanent damage to the heart valves.
How Long Is Strep Contagious
When you get infected, you typically start to show symptoms about 2 to 5 days after you were exposed to the bacteria. You can stay contagious for up to a month if you dont get treated. Antibiotics can prevent the infection from spreading. People who take antibiotics stop being contagious after about 24 hours.
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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.
Strep Throat Vs The Common Cold
Strep throat and the common cold have different causes. Viruses cause the common cold, while a bacterial infection causes strep throat.
If you have a common cold, you usually have symptoms like coughing, a runny nose, and hoarseness. These symptoms, especially coughing, are not common with strep throat.
When your throat is sore due to a cold, the pain usually develops gradually and disappears in a couple of days, although some colds can last up to 2 weeks. The pain from strep throat can occur suddenly. Its more severe and can persist for days.
Colds typically clear up on their own without the need for medical treatment. To prevent complications like rheumatic fever, antibiotics are usually prescribed to treat strep throat.
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Do I Need Antibiotics
If you have or are likely to have strep, your doctor will treat you to help you get better sooner, stop you from transmitting strep to others, and also to prevent the rare occurrence of strep infection developing into complicationsâlike rheumatic fever, and heart, kidney, and nervous system disorders. Fortunately, those side effects are rare.
Even if you are starting to feel better from a sore throat that was caused by strep, you still need treatment to prevent these possible complications.
Your doctor will assess the risk that your sore throat is caused by strep, and decide if the chance is high and immediate treatment is warranted, or if you need testing to see if it is strep, or if it’s unlikely to be strep.
The main factors that make it more likely that a sore throat is caused by strep include: History of recent exposure to someone who tested positive for strep, fever more than 100.4 degrees F, tender swollen lymph nodes in the neck, and white exudate or spots on the throat or tonsils. If you have at least 2 of these risk factors, your doctor may decide to go ahead and treat you without doing a test, or before any test results are back.
One caveat is that if you have symptoms that suggest a viral infection â such as cough, runny nose, congestion, conjunctivitis, or sores in your mouth, then it is unlikely that your sore throat is caused by strep.
How To Feel Better
Some ways you can feel better when you have a sore throat:
- Suck on ice chips, popsicles, or lozenges .
- Use a clean humidifier or cool mist vaporizer.
- Gargle with salt water.
- Drink warm beverages and plenty of fluids.
- Use honey to relieve cough for adults and children at least 1 year of age or older.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist about over-the-counter medicines that can help you feel better. Always use over-the-counter medicines as directed.
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Living With Strep Throat
Strep throat is an infection that typically comes and goes, especially when youre younger. If you have recurring strep throat, it could be that someone in your family is a carrier of strep. Carriers have the strep bacteria in their throats, but it does not make them sick. Treating carriers can help prevent the spread of strep.
How Well Do Antibiotics Work To Treat A Sore Throat
Antibiotics don’t work at all for a sore throat caused by a virus. These kinds of sore throats usually go away on their own in 4 to 5 days.
If you have strep throatwhich is caused by bacteriayour doctor may prescribe an antibiotic, such as penicillin. But strep throat goes away on its own in 3 to 7 days with or without antibiotics.
Antibiotics may not make you well faster. But they may shorten the time you are able to spread strep throat to others by a day or so.
Antibiotics may also lower the risk of a bacterial infection spreading to other parts of your body, such as your ears and sinuses. They can also prevent serious but rare problems such as rheumatic fever in children.
Antibiotics may cause side effects, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and skin rashes.
Besides side effects, there are other good reasons not to use antibiotics unless you really need them.
- Antibiotics cost money.
- You will probably have to see the doctor to get a prescription. This costs you time.
- If you take antibiotics when you don’t need them, they may not work when you do need them. Each time you take antibiotics, you are more likely to carry some bacteria that were not killed by the medicine. Over time, these bacteria get tougher and can cause longer and more serious infections. To treat them, you may need different, stronger, and more costly antibiotics.
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When To See A Doctor
Speak with a provider as soon as you or your child are experiencing any symptoms of strep throat.
If your provider confirms the diagnosis, they can prescribe the right antibiotic prescription to clear the infection.
If youre still feeling unwell two days after starting the medication, let your provider know.
How Do I Know If My Child Has Strep Throat
Visit your healthcare provider if the symptoms suggest strep throat. Your child will be examined and may be given a strep test . Viral illnesses can have the same symptoms as strep throat. This is why it’s important that a throat swab be done to confirm the presence of the Strep bacteria in the throat.
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Symptoms Of Sore Throat
A sore throat can make it painful to swallow. A sore throat can also feel dry and scratchy. Sore throat can be a symptom of strep throat, the common cold, allergies, or other upper respiratory tract illness.
The following symptoms suggest a virus is the cause of the illness instead of the bacteria called group A strep:
- Joint swelling and pain
This list is not all-inclusive. Please see your doctor for any symptom that is severe or concerning.
Follow up with a doctor if symptoms do not improve within a few days, get worse, or if you or your child have recurrent sore throats.
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Lifestyle and home remedies
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Is The Patient A Strep Carrier
A positive throat culture or a rapid strep test alone cannot distinguish between the patient with strep throat and the patient with an acute viral sore throat who is a chronic strep carrier. The strep carrier has a positive throat culture, but does not show symptoms of an acute strep infection or show a rise in strep antibody levels. In clinical practice, identifying a strep carrier is problematic.
Following treatment, the patient needs to be seen again to determine whether strep is present when the patient does not have a sore throat. In addition, antibody levels need to be drawn when the patient has a sore throat and then drawn again four to six weeks later to measure strep antibodies. If antibiotic therapy has been given to treat prior symptoms, it may suppress the antibody rise, thereby negating the usefulness of this test.
Has Early Prompt Antibiotic Treatment Suppressed Natural Immunity
With the availability of rapid strep detection tests and the publication of several convincing studies that describe faster clinical improvement from prompt treatment, many physicians have been prescribing antibiotics sooner after diagnosing strep throat infections.
Immediate penicillin treatment has been shown to be a cause of recurrent strep infections. Early antibiotic treatment suppresses the natural immune response to strep. Delaying antibiotic therapy for two days after the onset of a sore throat allows an immune response to develop, which may reduce the chance of a relapse or recurrence of strep throat infections.
Two similar studies compared immediate penicillin treatment with treatment delayed for 48 to 56 hours in 343 children with documented strep throats. Early antibiotic therapy produced a three-time increase in the frequency of recurrent infections as compared to those for whom treatment was delayed.
|*Treatment groups compared by x2 of Fisher’s exact test, as appropriate data compiled from References 12 and 13.|
A delay in treatment does not increase the risk of rheumatic fever since a delay of up to nine days from the onset of symptoms can be made. Nevertheless, for patients who appear severely ill or in times when highly infectious strains of strep are circulating, intentionally delayed treatment should not be considered.
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