What Is Streptococcal pharyngitis?
Streptococcal Pharyngitis, also called as Strep throat, is an infection of the throat and the tonsils caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pyogenes. The disease is characterized by the inflamed, painful or irritated throat, which causes a severe sore throat. This infection is most common in children aged 5-15 years, although adults are also prone to the infection. Children under 3 years are the least susceptible to this condition.
If left untreated, the infection may develop into complications like rheumatic fever and kidney problems.
What Are The Symptoms Of Streptococcal pharyngitis?
The nature and severity of symptoms differ from person to person. Some may experience milder symptoms like a sore throat while others may get a fever and have difficulty in swallowing due to pain in the throat.
After acquiring the infection, it takes 2-5 days to develop symptoms. Symptoms include:
- Sudden high-grade fever.
- Loss of appetite.
- Swollen red throat with white patches.
- Throat pain.
- Lymph nodes in the neck are swollen.
- Swollen tonsils.
- Difficulty if swallowing.
- Younger children may have vomiting and nausea.
- Body aches.
- Though strep throat is not that dangerous, if not treated on time with antibiotics, sometimes it leads to certain complications like:
- Spread of the bacterial infection to other parts like skin, tonsils, middle ear, sinuses or even blood.
- May cause inflammatory diseases like:
- Scarlet fever: characterized by prominent rashes
- Inflammation of kidneys
- Rheumatic fever: condition which affects the joints, heart, nervous system, and skin.
What Are The Causes Of Streptococcal pharyngitis?
- Strep throat is a bacterial infection caused by bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes, also called as Group A streptococcus. This group of bacteria are highly contagious.
- When an infected person coughs or sneezes, bacteria are expelled out of the body in tiny droplets of moisture. This spray of moisture laden with bacteria may land near a person’s mouth, nose or hands. When the person inhales this moisture or touches infected hands to the mouth, bacteria enter the body, thereby spreading the infection.
- The infection is also spread by touching objects like doorknobs, tables, phones or other daily objects which may have infectious fluid on it.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Streptococcal pharyngitis?
Prevention is the best way to be safe from this infection. Following good hygiene will avoid germs to enter the body. Some tips for prevention are:
- Always wash hands thoroughly before cooking and eating food. You can prevent the infection from spreading by washing hands properly after sneezing and coughing and after using the washroom.
- In case soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer to wash hands.
- Always cough or sneeze into a tissue and immediately dispose of it. This will prevent spreading the infection, in case you are already afflicted with it.
- If you have strep throat, stay at home and rest.
- Use a humidifier, especially in the dry winter months. Moisture in the atmosphere around you will help to keep mucous membranes moist. Take care to clean the humidifiers regularly.
- Since strep throat cause pain in the throat, it affects voice too. Rest your voice to heal it faster. Gargling with warm salted water will relieve the soreness and help regain voice.
- Chewing on cough drops and lozenges also give relief from soreness.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Streptococcal pharyngitis?
- Try not to share food, glasses or plates.
- Avoid drinking water directly from water fountains and public taps.
- Avoid close proximity with infected people.
- Avoid touching the mouth, nose or eyes directly after you come in contact with an infected person.
- Do not smoke. Avoid breathing in others’ smoke because smoking irritates the throat and makes you more susceptible to catch the infection.
- Avoid fumes which can cause irritation to the throat and lungs.
What Are The Best Foods For Streptococcal pharyngitis?
- Strep throat causes soreness and pain in the throat. This makes it very difficult to swallow food. Eating soft foods and drinking warm fluids will limit irritation and soothe the throat.
- Sipping on hot tea or warm soups will soothe the throat. The heat from the liquids will improve circulation and promote healing. The saltiness of soups helps in reducing swelling in the throat.
- Vegetable smoothies provide immunity boosters to fight the infection. At the same time, they are soft and easy on the throat.
- Eating fresh fruits heals strep throat faster by providing vitamins and minerals. Include fruits like avocados, raspberries, bananas, passion fruits, sweet grapes and apples in your diet.
- Fruits can be pureed and made into popsicles. Sucking on the popsicles will relive the soreness.
- Cooked pasta and oatmeal are soft foods, which will give energy.
- Mashed potatoes are easy on the throat and provide good nutrition to the body.
- Boiled eggs are soft and full of protein.
- Frozen yoghurt is also said to have a soothing effect on the throat.
- Drink plenty of fluids to keep yourself hydrated and throat moist.
What Are The Worst Foods For Streptococcal pharyngitis?
In general, you should avoid food which irritates the throat and which is difficult to swallow. The following foods may irritate the throat:
- Avoid acidic fruits like oranges, tomatoes, and limes.
- Crackers and crusty bread.
- Spicy food.
- Fresh uncooked vegetables.
- Avoid eating dry snacks like chips and popcorn as these are difficult to swallow.
- In some people, milk and milk products tend to thicken the mucous, aggravating sore throat. Hence, they should avoid consuming dairy products.
- Avoid consumption of alcohol as it slows down the healing process.
What Are The Medicines For Streptococcal pharyngitis?
What Are The Tips To Manage Streptococcal pharyngitis?
Fasten the healing of the throat by improving immunity. Yoga and exercise have a positive effect on the recovery process. Doing meditation beats stress and strengthens the body giving it the power to fight off infections.