What's Going Around

By: Rachel Calderon
By: Rachel Calderon

Health experts at Sparrow Hospital say it's an illness they treat year-round, but they are seeing more cases of strep throat.

While more cases seem to occur in the fall as kids head back to school, some cases are popping up around the winter months. Doctors recommend people be aware of the symptoms: a severe throat with a fever. The earlier someone sees a doctor and gets antibiotics, the less likely they are to spread the illness.

"Someone is considered not contagious 48 hours after they've been given antibiotics," Dr. Randy Pearson says.

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Strep Throat

  • Strep throat is a sore throat caused by bacteria, not a virus.

  • It is not possible to tell if a sore throat is caused by strep from just looking at the throat itself, so a throat culture (strep test) is needed to diagnose the bacteria.

  • Most sore throats are not strep, most sore throats are due to a virus.

Symptoms of Strep

  • Significant fever usually develops.

  • Pus or white spots on the tonsils.

  • Swollen and very tender throat area.

Fighting the Bacteria

  • The best thing to do is go to your doctor and get a prescription antibiotic. The most common used to fight strep is penicillin.

  • When treated with an antibiotic, the pain goes away usually within 48 hours.

Home Remedies to Help Relieve the Symptoms

These may help relieve some of the symptoms, but will not cure the bacteria. Going to the doctor is always the best remedy!

  • Gargling with warm salt water. Do not swallow the salt water.

  • Tea with lemon and honey.

  • Avoid citrus foods, these tend to aggravate the area.

  • Over the counter anesthetic lozenges and throat sprays.

A compilation of Web reports contributed to this report.


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