Strep Is on the Rise. Here's How to Minimize Your Risk.

Strep throat can be extremely painful, but is generally not considered dangerous.

Strep Is on the Rise. Here's How to Minimize Your Risk.

Covid-19, allergies and colds are all possible causes of a sore neck. A particularly painful case may also indicate strep. Over the past year, Dr. Sara Siddiqui said that strep cases have increased, and they've become more severe. She is a clinical assistant at NYU Langone Medical Center and specializes in pediatrics. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), rates of invasive Group A Strep, a severe type where bacteria spreads beyond the throat and into other areas such as the bloodstream, have increased in the past year.

People often delay seeking treatment because they confuse strep for other illnesses. 'People will say, "Oh, I'll just grin and endure it," said Dr. Anna Butrymowicz. She is an assistant professor of Otolaryngology, University of California San Francisco. It's important to make a fast, accurate diagnosis in order to treat the infection and prevent it from spreading.

Learn how to recognize the symptoms of strep and how to test and treat it.

What are the symptoms strep?

A sore throat is a telltale sign. According to the C.D.C., one out of 10 adults who have a sore neck has strep. Coughing and sneezing are usually signs of an illness. Dr. Sindhu Aderson, Central Region Medical Director and attending physician at Northwestern Medicine Immediate Care, said that the absence of cough was crucial.

Although strep is not a serious infection, it can be painful. Dr. Siddiqui says that children often feel like they are swallowing glass. Strep can cause a sudden sore throat, which hurts to swallow. It may also be painful when yawning. Tonsils can swell up, get bulky, have a white coating or turn red. People with strep may also experience headaches. People with strep often develop fevers and the lymph nodes in the neck can enlarge. Dr. Butrymowicz advised that if you have a temperature of 100.4 or higher and a sore neck so severe it makes swallowing painful, you should consult an urgent care physician or primary care physician.

Children can also have other symptoms. They are more prone to scarlet fever, which is a rash. According to Dr. Siddiqui, this year, strep cases in children were a bit different than usual. Experts are not sure why. Along with the usual sore throat, children have also complained of nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

Dr. Siddiqui advised that if your child's sore throat has been accompanied by a fever lasting more than 24hours, it is important to see your pediatrician.

How can you diagnose and treat strep throat?

No widely available test at home is available for strep. Dr. Butrymowicz stated that some urgent care clinics may diagnose you without testing you if you exhibit four key features: enlarged nodes, white coating on the tonsils, a lack of cough and a temperature greater than 100.4.

Two diagnostic tests can be performed by physicians: a rapid swab of the throat, which gives results in 10 minutes; and a culture swab of the throat, which is more precise but takes between 24 and 48 hours to produce results.

Dr. Siddiqui explained that doctors treat strep by prescribing antibiotics. However, some medications, such as certain forms of Amoxicillin, which they usually recommend are in short stock due to the increase in strep cases. After starting an antibiotic it can take up to 48 hours before symptoms subside. Most people take the medication for 10 days.

Dr. Aderson stated that 'Strep' is one of the simplest things we see in medical practice.

How can I avoid getting strep?

This infection is more common in children aged 5-15, but anyone who comes into regular contact with children (parents, teachers and school staff) are also at risk. Dr. NehaVyas is a family doctor at Cleveland Clinic. She said that she sees it in children of all ages. You can reduce your risk by taking a few precautions:

Be careful where you place your mouth.

In general, this is a good idea because bacteria and viruses can remain on surfaces such as cups and eating tools. Share nothing that comes in contact with your mouth. This includes food, lip products and other items.

Hands should be washed.

It's a common saying: Washing your hands frequently can prevent you from becoming sick. Dr. Vyas explained that strep is spread by respiratory droplets. If, for instance, someone coughs on a table, and you then touch the table with your mouth and don't wash your hands, it is possible to catch strep.

Dr. Butrymowicz says that wearing a mask can prevent respiratory droplets from entering your lungs in an environment with a lot of people, such as the subway or grocery stores.