Strep throat is an infection caused by the bacterial Streptococcus pyogenes that causes pain, redness and inflammation of the throat. It affects people of any age, being more frequent in children between 5-15 years old. If left untreated, kidney inflammation and rheumatic fever may develop.
It is spread by direct person-to-person contact by inhaling droplets of secretions expelled through coughing or sneeze and by saliva from infected persons when sharing food or drinks and kissing. Contact with contaminated objects and then bringing hands to the mouth, eyes or nose also transmits it. It is commonly transmitted between family members or people living in the same household.
Good hygiene habits prevent chances of strep throat transmission. Adults and children should wash their hands frequently, especially after coughing or sneeze, before preparing food or eating. If soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used. Cover the mouth when sneezing and discard used tissues, wash drinking glasses, dishes and eating utensils after they have been used by a sick person.
Throat infection is treated with antibiotics to relieve symptoms, prevent complications and spread.
The best antibiotics for people not allergic to penicillin are Amoxicillin - Cephalexin orally for 7 days. For patients allergic to Penicillin, Clindamycin, Azithromycin or Clarithromycin are prescribed.
Rest is recommended from the onset of infection until symptoms subside. Children may return to school when they feel better and no longer have a fever. It is important to complete all treatment to prevent complications.
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