|Strep throat: the gift that keeps on giving |
|It starts with a fever. Then it becomes more difficult to swallow. A child may even complain of a bellyache. From there, the symptoms rapidly progress until the victim is bedridden, unable to eat, unwilling to drink and complaining of a “sore throat.” |
Without antibiotics, the bacterial infection known as strep throat can lead to a host of other more serious complications. Across the county, parents are beginning to learn, all too well, how generous the infection has become among their children.
Patients of the Martin Pediatric and Adolescent Clinic have been filtering in and out of the medical facility like a revolving door. The majority of the diagnoses has been strep throat.
“Almost every strep test that we have given has come back positive,” Sherry Page said. Page is a NP at the pediatric and adolescent clinic in Martin. The clinic has been busy with strep throat patients since the week before the Christmas holiday and the numbers continue to climb.
Page explained that with the flu season pending, there have been very few flu cases at the office, just large numbers of children with strep throat.
Once a diagnosis is made, usually through a “rapid strep test,” doctors are dishing out antibiotics as well as rest and plenty of fluids.
As Page said, once the antibiotics settle in, usually within 48 hours, the patient begins to feel better. According to webMD, without antibiotic treatment, a patient with strep throat may be contagious for at least two to three weeks.
The clinic recommends seeking treatment immediately if a child exhibits any of the following symptoms:
• sudden, severe sore throat,
• pain when swallowing,
• fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit,
• swollen tonsils and lymph nodes
• bright red throat with white or yellow spots.
Other symptoms that accompany strep throat include a headache, belly pain, skin rash, vomiting, not feeling hungry and body aches. Antibiotics, plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration as well as rest are recommended treatments.
Babies, children and older adults are more susceptible to dehydration. Early signs of dehydration include a dry mouth with sticky saliva, reduced urine output with dark colored urine and easily irritated.
Once a person comes into contact with someone who has strep throat, symptoms typically develop within two to five days and as Page said, the infection runs its course within three to 10 days.
Antibiotics help keep the infection from spreading to other parts of the body.
Using disposable tissues, washing utensils and other dishes in hot, soapy water and throwing away the toothbrush once antibiotic treatments have begun are ways to keep strep throat at bay.
Page also recommends washing hands thoroughly and frequently to ward off the contagious infection.