May 7, 2012

Kevin’s Corner – About Strep Throat

Recently we have seen a number students with strep throat. We are taking all necessary precautions, but would like to help parents understand what strep throat is, what to look for, treatments, and prevention.

Symptoms? The hallmark symptoms are a fever & sore throat developed suddenly and simultaneously. Stomach aches and headaches are common in children with strep throat. Most people with strep do not have prominent congestion (stuffy nose), cough, or diarrhea. Symptoms may also include difficulty swallowing, a raw red appearance to the back of the throat, white pus on tonsils, tender high lymph nodes in neck, and rash.

See your doctor if you suspect strep. Early treatment may help prevent strep from developing into a more serious problem, such as rheumatic fever.

Treatment?  Doctors do a “rapid strep” test by touching the back of the throat with a small cotton swab to catch some of the germs. It takes about 15 minutes to get results. If the test is positive, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics and the strep will be cured.

How Can I Prevent Strep Throat? The best way to avoid strep throat is to avoid close contact with someone who is already infected. It may also be helpful to reduce stress, get plenty of rest, and fortify your body’s natural defenses. Frequent hand washing can help prevent infection as well. The bacteria are spread by sneezing, coughing, shaking hands, putting your hands to your face or eyes, or close contact with people who are infected. You can also pick up strep by touching objects such as books, doorknobs, tables, or other hard surfaces that were touched by a contaminated person and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Hand washing or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer can help prevent this.

Kevin Hawke, EMT/Security,