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  • Shaken Baby Syndrome

    Tuesday, 21 July 2015 16:28
  • Amniotic fluid problems

    Thursday, 14 May 2015 12:54
  • Choosing a pre-school

    Friday, 10 April 2015 17:50
  • Newborn reflexes

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:49
  • Mastitis

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:41
  • Pelvic floor exercises

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:20
  • Colic

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:11
  • Antenatal Classes

    Monday, 03 June 2013 09:34
  • Strap-in-the-Future

    Thursday, 30 June 2011 13:52

Strep Throat

Strep throat is a contagious disease caused by the streptococcus bacteria. It is common in school-aged children who are in close proximity with one another. The bacteria tend to be present in the nose and throat, therefore normal activities such as laughing, coughing, sneezing and shaking hands can spread the infection to other people. A strep throat can also be transmitted by touching objects handled by the infected person. Besides being highly contagious, strep throats are also the most serious throat infection because certain body organs (heart, muscles, joints, kidneys) may react to the presence of the streptococcus bacteria, possibly resulting in rheumatic fever or nephritis. However, the incidence of rheumatic fever is rare because of the early identification and treatment of strep throats and general improvements in health care standards (The Nemours Foundation, 1995-2010, Leary, 1990).

 

Symptoms

The symptoms of infection with streptococcus appear within 1 to 3 days.

·         A painful, very red sore throat with white patches

·                Enlarged tonsils that may have specks of pus or are covered with a white, odourless material

·         Swollen, tender lymph glands on the sides of the neck

·         Headache

·         Lower abdominal pain

·         Fever

·         Tiredness

·         Generally feeling unwell

·         Loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting

·         Muscle pain

·         Joint stiffness

·         Skin rash (emedicine health, 2010; Leary, 1990).

 

Diagnosis

If your doctor suspects a strep throat during his examination, he is likely to perform 2 tests:

1.         A rapid strep test, also known as the rapid antigen test, which provides results within minutes.

2.         He may take a throat culture, using a soft cottonwood swab to touch the throat and tonsil area. This test provides more accurate results but requires evaluation in a laboratory. Results are generally available within 24-48 hours (Nabil, 1996-2010).

 

When to seek urgent medical care

Contact your doctor immediately or visit the emergency room if your child has a strep throat and has difficulty swallowing causing drooling, finds breathing problematic, makes a noise while breathing or has bleeding in the throat (Nabill, 1996-2010; WebMD, 2010).

 

Treatment

·                A 10-day course of penicillin or other appropriate antibiotics, such as erythromycin in penicillin-allergic individuals, is required for the effective treatment of strep throat. Your child may also be prescribed medications such as ponstan or paracetamol to assist in fever reduction and pain control. After starting medication, fever should improve within 24 hours. Other symptoms usually begin to subside within 2-3 days. It is imperative that your child completes the full course of antibiotics to prevent the more serious complications associated with strep throat and the risk of relapse.

·                Fever may increase fluid requirements and difficulties swallowing can decrease fluid intake. It is therefore essential to ensure that your child drinks enough fluids to prevent dehydration. Choose high quality fluids that simultaneously replace salt and water loss (such as chicken soup) and sugar-containing solutions (such as non-acidic fruit juice) as they assist the body in absorbing fluids more rapidly.

·                Older children may gargle with salt water (¼ tsp salt to 225 ml water).

·                Sleep helps assist recovery and malaise (a general feeling of illness) requires rest for the body (medicine health, 2010; Leary, 1990).

·                To prevent your sick child from spreading strep throat to other family members, keep his eating and drinking utensils separate and wash them with hot, soapy water after each use. Ensure that your child does not share any food, drinks, napkins or towels with others in the home. Encourage him to cover his mouth or nose when coughing or sneezing. When your child has started antibiotic treatment and is no longer contagious, replace his toothbrush (emedicinehealth, 2010).