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Sore Throat or Strep?

1/13/2015

(via MedicineNet.com)  Strep throat, named for the Streptococcus bacterium that causes the condition, is a particularly severe form of sore throat that is best treated with antibiotics.  Strep throat can strike both children and adults, but only about 5%-10% of all sore throats are caused by a bacterial infection. Most are caused by viral illnesses, and are not responsive to antibiotic treatments.

A true streptococcal infection may present any of the following symptoms:
• Excruciating throat pain accompanied by difficulty swallowing, or even    
  speaking
• Fever
• Tonsils may be covered with a whitish layer of pus
• Enlarged, tender lymph nodes in the neck
• Children may have an accompanying rash

Cough and runny nose are not commonly related to strep throat, but it is possible to have a streptococcal infection along with a viral upper respiratory infection and symptoms of a cold.

It is important to distinguish between viral and bacterial causes of sore throats. Your physician can perform a rapid strep test that generally indicates within a few minutes whether Streptococci are present in the inflamed area.

Untreated Streptococcus infections can lead to rheumatic fever, a disease that damages the heart valves and affects the joints, as well as to kidney inflammation known as glomerulonephritis.  Due to the availability of antibiotic treatments, both of these conditions are rarely seen today.

If you suspect you or a child has strep throat, contact your family physician or visit a clinic right away to be tested. If a swollen throat is causing breathing difficulties or severe problems with swallowing, seek immediate medical assistance. To read the full MedicineNet.com article, click here.

Carson Valley Medical Center's Minden Family Medicine and Complete Care clinic is open M-F 8:00 am - 5:30 pm, and can be reached at 775.782.1603. For immediate, non-emergency assistance, our Urgent Care Clinic at 897 Ironwood Drive is open M-F 8:00 am - 7:00 pm, and Saturday 9:00 am-5:00 pm.

Carson Valley Medical Center is a non-profit medical facility that provides acute and ICU care, surgery, 24-hour emergency services, and outpatient services. A partnership of Barton Health and Renown Health, Carson Valley Medical Center’s mission is to promote the health and wellness of the Carson Valley.


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