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Strep throat is a type of pharyngitis that is caused by the strain of bacteria called Streptococcus pyogenes. These bacteria are capable of living within the nose and throat for many months without resulting in symptoms or even illness. It is only when the immune system fails to defend against a particularly powerful attack that the bacteria causes harm, leading to the painful, exceedingly unpleasant symptoms we associate with strep throat.
The symptoms of strep throat typically develop rapidly, often overnight. You may feel completely fine at bedtime and awaken the next day with a high fever and extreme pain in the throat. Other symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, sore and swollen lymph nodes, and pus on the tonsils. Patients with strep throat generally will not suffer from a cough unless a secondary condition (like bronchitis) is present simultaneously.
Strep throat must be treated with prescription antibiotic medications in order to eradicate the infection. Antibiotics like penicillin V drastically reduce the chances that the infected patient will spread the illness to others, though it is important to remember that you can remain contagious for up to 24 hours from the time the first antibiotic treatment is administered. Analgesics like ibuprofen and acetaminophen may be used to reduce pain, swelling, and fever when used as directed. If the patient has become dehydrated due to lack of fluids, vomiting, or diarrhea, intravenous (IV) fluids may be given.
If you or a family member is suffering from the symptoms of strep throat, it is important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible to avoid potential complications. Without antibiotics, the Streptococcus pyogenes infection can lead to additional health concerns, including:
It is important to remember that not all individuals who suffer from strep throat exhibit obvious symptoms at first. If you suspect that you or someone in your family has experienced a concussion or any other injury that warrants evaluation by a medical professional, please don’t hesitate to contact us immediately. Our state-of-the-art emergency facility is open and ready to serve 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.