Strep Throat (cont.)
John Mersch, MD, FAAP
Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Strep throat facts
- What is strep throat?
- What causes a sore throat?
- What are tonsils and tonsillitis?
- What are pharynx and pharyngitis?
- Viral causes of throat infection
- Bacterial causes of throat infection
- How common is strep throat?
- Is strep throat contagious?
- What are the signs and symptoms of strep throat?
- Are strep throat symptoms different in children compared to adults?
- When should I be concerned about a possible strep throat?
- How is strep throat diagnosed?
- Who should be tested for strep throat?
- How is strep infection treated?
- How can viral throat infection be treated?
- Are there any recommended strep throat remedies and symptom reducers?
- When should the tonsils be removed?
- Why is it very important to detect and treat a strep throat?
- What are the potential complications of untreated strep throat infection?
- Is there a vaccine for strep throat?
- Can strep throat be prevented?
- Just a Sore Throat or Strep - Slideshow
- Take the Strep Throat Infection Quiz!
- Infectious Mononucleosis - Slideshow
- Strep Throat (Streptococcal) Infection FAQs
How can viral throat infection be treated?
For viral infections no antibiotic is needed. Most viral infections can be expected to run a four-to-six day course. During this period, the child or other infected individuals can be treated with rest, and medicines that reduce pain and/or fever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, etc.). It is important to note that these measures do not treat the viral infection and only provide some relief of the symptoms. These measures can also be helpful in treating the symptoms of strep throat infection.
Learn more about: Tylenol
Are there any recommended strep throat remedies and symptom reducers?
Recommended home remedies for sore throat and tonsillopharyngitis (both strep throat and non-strep throat) are easily available in most circumstances. These remedies are generally geared towards relieving symptoms of sore throat and should not replace antibiotics in cases of proven strep infection.
- Saltwater gargle is an old therapy for sore throat symptom relief. Typically, ¼ to ½ teaspoon of salt is added to a cup (8 ounces) of warm water. Portions of the solution are used for each gargle. Gargling can be repeated a few times daily. Children younger than 8 years of age are not capable of gargling and this therapy should be avoided in this age group.
- Hard candies can be used to treat sore throat symptoms. Sucking on a hard candy is as beneficial as some of the other listed therapies.
- Lozenges (cough drops, troches, or pastilles) are also available for symptomatic relief of sore or dry throat. Cooling (Menthol), anesthetic (phenol or benzocaine), antiseptic, or anti-inflammatory agents may be used in these products to provide adequate symptom relief. The use of lozenges is not recommended for children under 4 years old.
- Other home remedies for symptomatic relief of sore throat and strep throat include warm tea with honey, lemon tea, chicken soup, cold beverages, smoothies, ice cream, and popsicles. Honey should be avoided in children less than 1 year of age because of increased risk of botulinum toxicity and paralysis.
It cannot be overemphasized that despite these symptom reducers antibiotics are necessary to both cure strep throat as well as lessen the likelihood of complications of an untreated strep infection.
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