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How to Get Rid of Strep Throat

Updated on July 20, 2013

Signs of Strep Throat

Have you ever experienced waking up in the morning and feeling pain and itchiness in your throat? You get the feeling that something is blocking your throat, which makes it difficult to swallow. You put the back of your hand against your neck and also notice that you have fever. These are telltale signs that you have strep throat. You immediately go to the bathroom, look in the mirror, and try to check your throat. Red and white patches cover your throat, and you begin to wonder how you would go on with your day knowing that you would have to battle through a strep throat.

Strep throat is a bacterial infection which causes your throat to become red and swollen, and is often accompanied by several other symptoms including fever, rashes, and stomach pain. When left untreated, strep throat can lead to complications such as rheumatic fever and kidney inflammation. For some quick relief and to avoid further medical problems, here are some tips on how to get rid of strep throat.

A positive case of strep throat.
A positive case of strep throat. | Source

What Causes Strep Throat?

Strep throat is caused by the bacteria known as Streptococcus pyogenes, also called group A streptococcus. Strep throat is highly contagious. An infected person can pass the bacteria to another when he or she coughs or sneezes. Sharing personal items such as drinking glasses and kitchen utensils is also a common way to get infected. Strep throat is most common among children and teens, but adults can also suffer from it.

Symptoms of Strep Throat

  • Throat pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Red and swollen tonsils
  • Fever
  • Red and white patches in throat
  • Abdominal pain
  • Rash
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

Strep Throat vs. Sore Throat

At first, you might confuse strep throat with the usual sore throat. It is important to note that not all sore throats are strep throats. A sore throat is usually caused by a viral infection. Its symptoms usually include a runny nose and cough. A sore throat heals on its own after a week even without medical treatment. Strep throat, on the other hand, usually requires antibiotic treatments, as it is caused by bacteria. Strep throat is usually accompanied by fever, red and white patches in the throat, headaches, abdominal pain, and rashes.

How to Get Rid of Strep Throat

1. Antibiotic treatment.

After seeing the first signs of strep throat, you should go to the doctor immediately. The first thing your doctor would likely prescribe is antibiotic medication such as penicillin and amoxicillin. Antibiotics will help treat strep throat by killing the bacteria that lingers in your throat. After the first 24 hours of taking your medication, you will begin to feel better and won’t be contagious. Be careful though and continue to take the antibiotics even after the symptoms are gone. Otherwise, you may experience recurring strep throat.

2. Symptom relievers.

If you have fever and severe throat pain, ask your doctor if you can take over-the-counter painkillers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. These medications will help reduce fever and ease throat pain. Also, do not let your child take aspirin as it is linked to a life-threatening disease known as Reye’s syndrome.

Home Remedies for Strep Throat

While antibiotics are usually required to get rid of strep throat, they are not the only things to turn to. There are other things that can make you feel better while battling with strep throat. Here are some home remedies for strep throat and lifestyle fixes that will speed up your healing process.

  • Gargle with salt water. Mix ½ teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Gargle the solution several times a day to relieve symptoms of strep throat. Remember to spit it out after gargling.
  • Eat soups and broths. You may want to be extra careful with what you eat when you have strep throat. Certain foods can exacerbate the pain in your throat, which is the last thing you want to happen. Avoid spicy and acidic foods and drinks. Opt for broths, soups and mashed potatoes. Frozen yogurt and fruit pops can also soothe your throat and provide much needed comfort.
  • Stay hydrated. Things will only get worse if you let your throat become dry. Make sure you drink plenty of liquids the whole day. This will help you swallow easier and prevent dehydration.
  • Have plenty of rest. When battling any infection, it is essential to give your body ample amounts of rest to give it the energy to fight off the infection. It is recommended to just stay at home within the first 24 hours of getting strep throat, especially because this is the time when symptoms are at their worst and you are most contagious. Avoid tiring activities, skip work or school, and just hit the bed.
  • Install a humidifier. A dry environment can cause the throat to become dry as well, which may cause further irritation. Consider installing a humidifier in your home to add moisture to the air.
  • Avoid irritants. Smoke, dust and pet dander are just some of the things you would want to avoid when trying to cure strep throat. Stay away from irritants as much as you can to reduce the likelihood of getting throat infections.

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