Fitness Facts: Strep infection and what you need to know
By Maggie Sabay
Nurse Practitioner, Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic
COVID-19 has masked several other conditions, such as tonsillitis, mononucleosis and strep allergic rhinitis.
Our bodies can and are able to fight viral infections, but antibiotic therapy is recommended for bacterial infections such as strep. This is the reason you need to understand strep-specific symptoms and ways to protect yourself and family.
Although there are several strains of streptococcal infections such as Strep B and Strep C, health care providers usually test for group A strep (GAS). Symptoms that are consistent with strep infection include:
- Sore throat that starts suddenly and may worsen within a short period
- Pain with swallowing
- Swollen tonsils
- Tonsils may be red, show red spots
- Some people may experience headache, nausea and body aches.
How you get strep throat
GAS lives in the nose and throat of the infected person. Some infected people may not show any symptoms of illness, but they are still contagious and can spread the disease.
Infected individuals who are infected spread the bacteria by coughing or sneezing, which creates small respiratory droplets that contain the bacteria.
People can get sick if they:
- Breathe in those droplets
- Touch something with droplets on it and then touch their mouth or nose
- Drink from the same glass or eat from the same plate as a sick person
The following symptoms suggest a virus is the cause of the illness instead of strep throat:
- Runny nose
- Hoarseness (changes in your voice that makes it sound breathy, raspy or strained)
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
Things you can do to protect yourself and others
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
- Discard the used tissue appropriately
- Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands, if you don’t have a tissue
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available
If you have symptoms consistent with strep throat as discussed above, please call or schedule with your primary care provider. Feel free to call Canyon Health and Wellness clinic at 602-639-6215. You may need antibiotics, so be sure to schedule with a health care provider.