If you woke up in the morning with a sore throat, chances are there you are infected with the common cold. No such issues as such; an antibiotic and a couple of throat toffees should do the work. But, if you feel like your throat is on fire and lymph nodes at the front of your neck are tender and swollen, or your tonsils have occasional white patches – then for the record, these are symptoms of strep throat, and you need immediate attention. This is caused by the Group A Streptococcus bacteria and is highly contagious.
Technically speaking, these symptoms normally go away within 3-5 days. So before you panic and rush to the doctor (since it is contagious, so you do need to pay a visit) – let’s check out some preliminary symptoms, understand the difference between strep throat and a normal cold and gather some ready-made homemade tips.
What are the symptoms of strep throat?
Technically speaking, the most pronounced symptoms of strep throat – apart from the standard issues of difficulty in swallowing and sore throat include:
- swollen and tender lymph nodes or glands at the front of your neck
- red spots at the roof of your mouth
- occasional white patches(exudates) in your tonsils
- nausea and vomiting
- sudden chills
- abdominal pain
- rash-like condition (sandpaper rash) called scarlet fever
Topping all of this is the loss of appetite that enhances this strep throat condition for the worse.
Now many of you may have a general query as to how to differentiate between the two, since in the case of the common cold as well, the symptoms are mostly similar. Let’s get the specifics for you –
How is it different from normal cold?
The basic difference between the symptoms of strep throat and the common cold is – how it affects your throat. As previously stated – strep throat categorically affects the throat, and the lymph glands at the frontal part of the neck get swollen.
But in the case of a common cold – the immediate symptoms are runny nose, sneezing, cough, and mucus that drips down your throat. Your throat is sore, and you do have difficulty swallowing food or talking – but not to the extent of excessively swollen glands. In fact, the basic symptom is excessive sneezing and a stuffed or runny nose.
Also, you must know that – strep throat is caused by bacteria, while the common cold is a result of a virus. However, only when the doctor does the specified test (strep pharyngitis test) that one gets to be assured of the same. After that, once you take the prescribed antibiotics, you will be cured shortly.
How contagious is strep throat?
Do you have a clearer idea about the specific symptoms of strep throat and how it is markedly different from that of the common cold (though a test is essential)? Then it is time for you to know how contagious this can be so that you get it treated at the earliest.
Strep throat is highly contagious (compared to the common cold) and is spread via droplets. So, once you sneeze or cough, the droplets that are airborne settle on multiple surfaces, and from there, the other person can pick up the bacteria.
Though you will find that the common cold, or even flu, is spread by the same process, the chances of this spread are comparatively limited based on the body’s immunity.
Here are some quick tips to deal with it
With complete knowledge of symptoms of strep throat, it is now time to look at some respite available. In case you have the same, you must –
- Have you heard of Elderberry? Either have it in the form of a tea, a capsule, or in a powder form.
- Boost your Vitamin C levels in the body – either by taking supplements or with the help of fruits such as – kale, strawberries, kiwi, oranges, and grapefruit.
- You have to raise the antioxidant levels in the body, and for that – medical-grade honey is the best option (not for kids under 3 years of age). You may use it while drinking milk or add it to your tea.
- If you like to sip tea such as – chamomile tea or dandelion tea reduces pain, swelling, congestion and overall helps in boosting your immunity levels.
- For people over 5 years of age – frozen desserts are of great help. So, try sucking on popsicles, ice or hard candy to ease your throat pain.
- You can add 1-2 drops of peppermint oil to warm water and drink it.
- Gargling with warm water is another remedy. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to 250 ml of warm water and gargle with it. If not salt, you can add thyme oil to it (1-2 drops) and then gargle.
- Virgin coconut oil is another way to keep back the strep bacteria. When you notice some symptoms of strep throat, you could try oil pull – by swishing 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil in your mouth for 5 minutes and rinsing your mouth after spitting it. This helps in reducing the symptoms and easing your throat.
Lastly, as far as medication is concerned – keep acetaminophen and ibuprofen handy.
How dangerous can it get?
As already mentioned – if left untreated, strep throat does go away within 3-5 days. But for the record, if conditions worsen, strep throat could lead to bacterial attacks on your bloodstream, throat abscesses, and prolonged sinus and ear infections. Some of the other complications include – kidney issues and rheumatic fever.
What are the possible preventions of the same?
As stated – prevention is always better than cure. Therefore, on a parting note, it is better that apart from symptoms of strep throat, you also get to know ways to prevent its probability in the first place –
- You must frequently wash your hand with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. As an alternative, use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
- If possible, use a tissue or a napkin while sneezing. If unavailable – you can always use your elbows to cover your node; refrain from using your hands.
- If anyone’s sick or if even you are sick – do not share any personal items. That could transfer the bacteria.
Assuming you have read this article well, one may assume that you are a little more aware of the symptoms of strep throat compared to any other in your vicinity. Therefore, it is essential that you take care of the same and seek medical attention at the earliest. If you know any tricks up your sleeve, then you can share them same with us. For more exciting content like this, keep following this page!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: What are the common symptoms of strep throat?
Ans: The common symptoms of strep throat include a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, swollen tonsils, white or yellow patches on the throat, swollen lymph nodes, fever, headache, and body aches.
Q2: How can I tell if I have strep throat or just a regular sore throat?
Ans: While both strep throat and regular sore throat share similar symptoms like a sore throat, strep throat is often accompanied by additional symptoms such as fever, swollen tonsils with white or yellow patches, and swollen lymph nodes. It is important to see a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis.
Q3: Is a cough a symptom of strep throat?
Ans: No, a cough is not a typical symptom of strep throat. Strep throat is primarily characterized by a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and other symptoms mentioned earlier. If you are experiencing a cough, it may indicate a different respiratory condition.
Q4: Are there any symptoms that are exclusive to strep throat?
Ans: While strep throat shares many symptoms with other throat infections, certain symptoms are more specific to strep throat. These include swollen tonsils with white or yellow patches, absence of a cough, and a sudden onset of symptoms. However, only a medical professional can provide a definitive diagnosis.
Q5: Can strep throat cause symptoms such as fatigue and loss of appetite?
Ans: Yes, strep throat can cause symptoms such as fatigue and loss of appetite. The infection and associated inflammation can make you feel generally unwell and affect your energy levels and appetite. If you are experiencing these symptoms along with a sore throat, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare provider for proper evaluation and treatment.