Streptococci are simply everywhere. Some species of these bacteria live normally on our skin and mucous membrane, while some are pathogenic and may cause a large number of various diseases. The most pathogenic type of all streptococci is definitely “Streptococcus pyogenes”. Streptococcal infections are usually transmitted via droplets, as well as through direct and indirect contact with the infected person. The spread of streptococci is possible even if there are no visible symptoms of the disease, and in that case the person who carries the bacterium is called germ carrier. It is also possible for the infection to be spread through the items that were in direct contact with the patient’s secretions, but such cases are not that common. Streptococcus bacteria can easily spread in places where a large number of people is present on a daily basis.
The most suitable places for the spread of this kind of bacteria are crowded places, such as schools, kindergartens, large offices, public transportation and so on.
Once streptococci settle in the throat, they cause Streptococcal pharyngitis, also known as strep throat. If untreated, this bacterial infection may sometimes lead to complications such as kidney inflammation and rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever can result in painful and inflamed joints, rash and even damage to heart valves.
Strep throat most commonly affects children between the ages of 5 and 15 years, but it can also happen in people of all ages. If you or your child has any signs or symptoms of sore throat, you should see your doctor because it may easily grow into strep throat.
Strep throat symptoms
Streptococci are transmitted from person to person, both by air or direct touch. Since the bacteria are found in the nose and throat, they can be easily transmitted to another person by sneezing, coughing, shaking hands or other ways of contact, as we have already mentioned above. Also, a healthy person can get infected by touching objects that already were in the direct contact with the infected person. The incubation period, or in other words, the time between the bacterial infection emergence and the first symptoms occurrence is usually from two to five days. If the symptoms are not treated on time, the person can be contagious for two to three weeks after their occurrence.
The most common symptoms of strep throat are:
- Sudden and abrupt onset of sore throat without coughing and sneezing
- Enlarged and inflamed tonsils
- Throat pain and difficulty in swallowing
- Gray, white or yellow spots or deposits on the tonsils and pharynx
- Inflamed lymph glands in the neck area that are sensitive to touch
- Redness of the throat
- Body temperature above 38 ° C (lower body temperature may be an indication of a viral infection)
Streptococci in children
Strep throat is very often present in children. As we have already mentioned, this infection can be spread very quickly in places such as kindergartens and schools, where a great number of children spend most of their time. The infection is most common in children between the ages 5 and 15 years.
If your child complains of throat pain, if he/she is facing with scratchy throat and symptoms like that, it may be the first sign of strep throat.
Those symptoms can get worse over time and are usually accompanied by sore and red throat, swollen tonsils that may often be covered with pus deposits. In this case take your child to the doctor in order to determine the cause of a sore throat and start with the treatment immediately.
Group B streptococcus in pregnancy
Group B streptococci can often be found in a woman’s vagina or rectum. During birth, these bacteria can be transmitted to babies and can cause serious illnesses in the newborn: pneumonia, sepsis, meningitis and many other problems. Therefore it is important to identify and test pregnant women before delivery, in order to timely commence the therapy with antibiotics and prevent transmission of the infection to the child.
Strep throat prevention
The best way to avoid getting strep throat, or any bacterial infection, is certainly to avoid contact with anyone who is infected. If you spend a lot of time with someone who has a cold, strep throat, or any other illness, wash your hands frequently and do not share your food or drinks with them, and certainly not your toothbrush. Strep throat bacteria are transmitted via tiny droplets that an infected person can expel by coughing, sneezing or breathing. Bacteria are able to live for a short period of time on various objects like doorknobs, water faucets, computer keyboards, etc. If a healthy person touches an infected object and then touches their eye, nose, or mouth, they can easily become infected with the bacteria or virus. If you have an infected person at your home, it is recommended that you keep cutlery, plates and glasses separated. If you are an infected person, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and wash your hands frequently thereafter or after blowing your nose. Proper and balanced diet, adequate sleep and regular exercise improve your resistance to the infection. Stress can make the body more susceptible to illness, so try to be as less nervous as possible. Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke, smoking irritates the throat tissues, thereby making it more susceptible to infections.
Natural remedies for strep throat
Apple Cider Vinegar
You could say that this is one of the most effective methods when it comes to strep throat treatment. ACV is known to help the body recover from countless conditions, and it is really a perfect liquid with magical properties that will help you with throat problems.
- Dilute 2 teaspoons of ACV in 1 cup of warm water.
- You can also use this ratio: 1/4 cup of ACV in 2 cups of water.
- Use that liquid as a gargle.
- Repeat this procedure several times a day, until you feel better.
Raw organic apple cider vinegar is best for this purpose.
Cayenne stands just next to ACV, and it is incredibly helpful remedy when it comes to strep and sore throat.
- Take a small amount of cayenne powder and dissolve it in 1 cup of water.
- Take a cotton swab and dip it in the solution, then apply it to the back of your throat.
- Mix 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 2 tablespoons of raw organic honey and make a paste.
- Dip in a cotton swab and rub the paste on the back of your throat.
Garlic has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It destroys harmful bacteria, but at the same time stimulates the healthy bacteria.
- Take 2 finely chopped garlic cloves and chew them down your throat.
- If it is too hot for you to handle, mix finely chopped garlic with water and gargle your throat with it.
If you don’t treat strep throat on time, it can lead to more severe complications, including kidney inflammation and rheumatic fever. However, if you start using appropriate natural remedies at the earliest stage possible, quick recovery will be guaranteed.