CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Doctors are warning parents to be aware of the symptoms of strep throat.
The new school year is here and so is the season of strep throat.
Strep throat is mainly spread through person-to-person contact and, like a virus, the bacteria that causes strep can survive on surfaces.
“The group that is highest at risk is children that are aged 5-15. It is very unlikely that there will be a child less than 3 getting strep throat. But also, adults can have a higher risk getting strep throat due to their children getting sick and bringing it home,” said Amistad Community Health Center internal medicine physician Dr. Jacqueline Phillips.
Early intervention for patients with strep throat is the key to preventing the spread of the bacteria.
“Some of the signs and symptoms that you have strep throat is a sore throat that is very quickly progressing in pain, if you have fever, if you have swollen lymph nodes, if you notice pus draining in the back of your throat, or if you see that the throat is very red." Phillips said. "Some of the things that help you exclude that you have strep throat is that you will usually not have a cough, you will usually not have a runny nose.”
Not every sore throat is strep throat. Bacteria only cause a small portion of all sore throats.
“You should see a doctor if you are having present fevers and a sore throat. When you go to the doctor, the doctor can do a swab of your throat, and if you are positive for strep throat, you can be prescribed antibiotics to treat it,” said Phillips.
There are cases where strep can become more severe.
“This can progress to a couple of chronic conditions. One is you can develop rheumatic fevers so the bacteria can actually harm your heart. The other is you can develop poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis, and this is a condition that can attack your kidneys and lead to kidney failure,” said Phillips.
The best way to prevent any infection is with hand washing and good hygiene.
Strep throat is very contagious. It can be hard to protect yourself when you are around people who are infected with strep throat.
Try to avoid people who have strep when possible. And if you must be around someone who has strep throat, be sure to wash your hands frequently. Hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs.
Prevention tips for avoiding strep throat:
• Wash your hands often.
• Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
• Do not drink from the same glass, eat from the same plate, or share utensils with someone who is sick.
• If you have strep throat, stay home from work, school, or daycare until you no longer have a fever and have taken antibiotics for at least 24 hours. This will help keep others from getting sick.