What's Going Around

By: Jennifer Dowling
By: Jennifer Dowling

Doctor Les Searls at the Ingham Regional Medical Center on West Greenlawn in Lansing says that he's seeing cases of strep throat in his office this week. He says sore throats are usually caused by a virus. However, strep throat is a bacterial infection in the throat and tonsils. The symptoms are a sudden, severe sore throat and high fever which is usually 101 and can go as high as 104. Patients may also experience swollen tonsils and lymph nodes. White or yellow patches can also occur later on as the infection progresses.

Dr. Searls says other symptoms may include nausea and vomiting, bad breath and headache. Sometimes the bacteria can make a toxin that can cause a scarlet-colored rash all over the body. That's known as Scarlet Fever.

Dr. Searls says, typically, strep throat lasts three to seven days. It should be treated with antibiotics. See your doctor if you suspect strep. Your doctor will do a physical exam and may also do a throat swab to confirm the diagnosis. They may also advise you to take an over-the-counter pain reliever like Advil or Motrin to lower your fever.

The doctor says antibiotics won't necessarily make you well faster. However, they can shorten the time you are contagious and prevent a rare, but potentially deadly complication known as Rheumatic Fever. That can cause permanent damage to the heart and cause heart failure.

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