Strep throat is a painful and contagious infection that causes inflammation and pain in the throat and tonsils. It is characterized by an extremely sore throat, pain when swallowing, white or yellow patches on the tonsils, a fever, and swollen tonsils and lymph nodes. It is also common to experience a headache, reduced appetite, body aches, and in some cases a skin rash. The symptoms typically come on suddenly, although you may have contracted the infection several days before you feel ill.
Unlike most sore throats which are caused by a viral infection, strep throat is a bacterial infection caused by the streptococcal bacteria. The infection is contagious, which means that it can be spread from person to person. For example, when someone who has a strep throat infection coughs or sneezes, they release tiny drops of fluid into the air. If you inhale those droplets, you are exposed to the bacteria and may become ill. It usually takes two to five days for symptoms to develop after you’ve been exposed.
If you are diagnosed with strep throat, Dr. McDonald offers efficient treatment. She uses a quick and accurate strep test combined with a physical exam to accurately diagnose your illness. Dr. McDonald usually prescribes an antibiotic to help you fight the bacterial infection. Since strep throat is caused by bacteria, an antibiotic is an effective treatment. As with most illnesses, it is important to rest and take in enough fluids to help your body fight the infection.
Yes, you should take some time off school or work. Not only are you contagious for approximately 24 hours after you start antibiotics, but you also need to give your body some time to fight the infection and recover. If you don’t take antibiotics, you may be contagious for up to three weeks, even after your symptoms have passed and you feel better. If you need a medical excuse to take time to recover, Dr. McDonald provides the necessary documentation to you.
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