Sore throats are no fun. When we get them the can interfere with our ability to speak, eat, and if bad enough, drinking enough fluids to stay hydrated. We may look in a mirror, ask a friend to look or take a throat ‘selfie’ with our phone to look for those infamous white patches. If present we are sure we have “strep” (a pharyngitis or throat irritation caused by Streptococcus pyogenes). Before you run off to see you healthcare provider armed with you whisper-voice and your throat selfie let’s talk about it.
Most sore throats are viral (85% in children and 95% in adults) which means that antibiotics will do you no good. Yes even if you have white spots on your tonsils! The symptoms that are present with strep throat include the following:
- sudden onset
- absence of a cough
- nausea and vomiting
- skin rash
- tiny red spots (petechial rash) on the top of the mouth (palate)
- body aches.
- This infection is more common in late Autumn and early Spring.
If you have a family member with strep throat you will not necessarily catch it but it is pretty contagious. Strep can spread through airborne droplets when someone with the infection coughs or sneezes, or through shared food or drinks. You can also pick up the bacteria from a doorknob or other surface and transfer them to your nose, mouth or eyes. So if a loved one is infected EVERYONE in the home should WASH his or her HANDS like it is their JOB!
So now you know that more often than not, your sore throat is probably viral and time is the only cure.
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