Strep Throat is an infection of the pharynx and tonsils caused by group A streptococcus bacteria.
Strep Throat is more common in children than in adults. This disease is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes contaminated droplets into the air, which another person inhales. A person may also become infected from touching these secretions and then touching his/her mouth or nose. Direct contact is the most common method of disease transmission. Household items such as plates, cups or toys do not play a major role. It is possible to be a carrier of group A streptococcus bacteria without developing symptoms. A carrier is less contagious than a person experiencing acute symptoms of Strep Throat.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
• Sore throat.
• Fever - adults.
• Swollen lymph glands in the neck.
• Nausea and vomiting.
• Runny nose is common in children less than 4 years old.
• The tonsils may have pus on the surface.
The symptoms usually begin abruptly a few days after exposure to the streptococcus organism. If not medically treated, Strep Throat may progress to a condition known as scarlet fever. This disease is characterized by a bright red, rough textured rash spread all over the body. Other complications which may develop if Strep Throat is untreated include otitis media (middle ear infection), sinusitis, rheumatic fever and kidney disease.
As with all conditions your Doctor should be consulted. Treatment usually involves a course of antibiotics. A child with Strep Throat may return to school or childcare after he/she has been on antibiotic therapy, and without a fever, for at least 24 hours.
• Follow the diet instructions from your Doctor.
• If the patient is refusing to eat, it is advisable to avoid solid foods for a few days unless the person requires it for medical reasons e.g. diabetes. It is common for an infection and a sore throat to contribute to a loss of appetite in people with Strep Throat.
• It is important to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Fresh, filtered water is best, however, if a child is refusing to drink, try giving him/her an ice block made from fruit juice and water or an icy pole. The ice helps to numb the painful sore throat while providing a source of fluid.
• If the patient has an appetite and is able to tolerate solid foods it is best to serve him/her soft, bland foods, such as cooked vegetables and soups, which will not irritate the throat. Avoid very salty, sugary and spicy foods and foods which are acidic such as tomatoes, lemons, grapefruit and oranges as these may irritate the lining of the throat.
Supplements may only be of value if dietary intake is inadequate.
• Vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene and vitamin E are associated with healthy immune function.
• Zinc is also an important element of the immune process and is thought to work in conjunction with many of the above vitamins.
• Echinacea, garlic, propolis and golden seal are reputed to have anti-bacterial properties, along with immune enhancing activity.
• Thyme, liquorice, marshmallow and sage teas may have a soothing effect on a Sore Throat.
Ask your MedAux Pharmacist for advice.
1. Follow the Diet Hints.
2. Your Pharmacist can answer any queries you may have regarding your prescribed medication.
3. It is very important to take the correct dosage of your prescribed medication at the times recommended by your Doctor. This will help to prevent the development of complications such as scarlet fever and rheumatic disease.
4. Try a warm saline solution gargle to relieve the pain of a sore throat. Ask your Doctor or Pharmacist for advice.
5. Paracetamol is recommended for relief of pain and fever. Your Pharmacist can give you the correct dosage advice.
6. While a person is highly infectious (prior to medication) it is advisable to observe careful hygiene practices. Wash hands thoroughly and be sure to keep a child with Strep Throat at home for the recommended period of time to avoid infecting other children.
7. If the diet is inadequate, consider some nutritional supplements. Acidophilus (formulated for children) may help to restore normal gut flora and digestion after a course of antibiotics. Lozenges containing vitamin C and zinc may help to boost the immune response.
8. Medicated lozenges from your Pharmacy have mild antibacterial properties and may be soothing for a sore throat.