Strep throat is a common name for A Streptococcal - sore throat that is caused by Group A Streptococcus bacteria. It is an infection of the mucous membranes that line the throat. These bacteria may also affect the tonsils, a condition known as tonsillitis.
Anyone can get a strep throat, but it is most common among school children. Adults who smoke and those who live in damp, crowded areas are more susceptible to this infection. The disease is contagious and germs can reach healthy people through coughing and sneezing. In rare cases, an infected handler of food may sneeze or cough and pass the bacterium through food. The spread of the bacteria is fast and once a person is infected, the infection is likely to affect other members of the household within two to seven days.
Strep throat is usually treated with penicillin that is administered orally. The treatment protocol lasts for about ten days, and the medicine needs to be taken two to three times a day. Some physicians prefer amoxicillin as the dosage required is substantially less than that of penicillin. Macrolides like erythromycin are prescribed for those who are allergic to penicillin. There are other antibiotics in the macrolide class that are equally effective, but these are more expensive.
Strep throat is a self-limiting disease and taking the antibiotic alternative is not always advisable. Excessive use of antibiotics can cause your body to become resistant to the drug. Treatment of strep throat should be based on clinical judgment and the level of discomfort caused. Some natural steps can relieve the symptoms of strep throat and herbal antibiotics can address the underlying problem to a great degree.
- Drink plenty of fluids, avoiding those that irritate the throat.
- Add a little bit of sugar and warm water to fresh orange juice and sip it slowly.
- Gargle with warm salt water daily for relief of throat pain.
- Avoid smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
- Place a licorice root in the mouth and chew slowly. It is a time tested treatment of strep throat and widely popular in Asia.
Left untreated, strep throat can progress and cause rheumatic fever and other disturbing conditions. An extremely severe condition may lead to shock, organ failure and death. The state of your immune system health can prove to be a crucial factor in preventing a strep throat. People with a weakened immune system are more vulnerable to attacks by Group A Streptococcus bacteria. Drinking teas made of herbs for immune system, like sage and Echinacea, can help to provide relief from the symptoms and strengthen the immune system as well.