November 27, 2009

How Can I Tell If I Have Strep Throat?


Streptococcal Pharyngitis, commonly known as strep throat, is often first thought to be merely a sore throat or a cold, but is much more severe. There are certain ways to avoid the common misdiagnosis.

Sore throats are caused by yeast, bacteria, and other viruses that cause the throat to swell and become sore. Sore throats can even be caused by something as simple as breathing through your mouth, which irritates and dries the throat. Unlike sore throats, strep throat is caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pyogenes, or Group A Strep.

Symptoms of strep throat include sore red throat; swollen, sore glands; large, red tonsils; headache; lower stomach pain; fever; and pain when one swallows. These symptoms of usually persist more than 5 days. Normally when one has strep throat, coughing is rare. This can aide one in differentiating between strep throat and the common cold. A sore throat may be accompanied by a runny nose, coughing, or red eyes.

Strep throat, if developed, may cause rheumatic fever, rheumatic heart disease, or acute glomerulonephritis (kidney disease). These illnesses can damage the heart and other vital organs of the body. Strep throat is more common to occur during the winter months and into the early spring, so it is important to be cautious and take simple steps and protect yourself from the contagious infection.

If you are still unsure whether what you’re experiencing is, in fact, strep throat, a simple excursion to your doctor for a throat culture or rapid strep test will solve it. If you are diagnosed with strep throat avoid smoking, and cold drinks. Try gargling water with one teaspoon of salt in warm water. Also, if you have strep throat, buy a new toothbrush to stop the virus from reoccurring. Strep throat can be cured by painless antibiotics taken for 10 days to 2 weeks.

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