Do you know if you or your child has strep throat or sore throat? Are you just coming down with a cold, or is it something more serious? This question is important, because strep can cause life-threatening complications if not treated promptly with antibiotics.

Sore Throat Facts

A scratchy, tender throat that kind of sneaks up on you is usually the first sign of an oncoming cold. Within a day or two, it progresses to a runny nose, followed by congestion. If you're an adult, you probably don't have a fever. Kids will sometimes run a mild fever.

This type of respiratory infection is generally caused by one of hundreds of viruses. A cold will usually clear up on its own, within a few days.

Symptoms Of Strep Throat

This is always a bacterial infection caused by Streptococcus pyogenes, also known as group A streptococcus. It can progress to rheumatic fever, a disease which may damage the heart valves. It can also attack the kidneys. Scarlet fever, pneumonia, tonsillitis, sinus infections, and ear infections are also complications of a strep infection.

You can see why it's important to know what you're dealing with as soon as possible. This type of infection must be treated with antibiotics to kill it off before it causes permanent damage.

Symptoms include:

  • A painful throat that comes on suddenly
  • Fever
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Rash under arms and in skin folds
  • Loss of appetite
  • Upset stomach and vomiting
  • White or yellow spots on roof of mouth and on back of throat

Your doctor can diagnose it with a simple throat swab.

Watch For Complications

Go back to your doctor if you have:

  • A persistent sore throat that doesn't go away.
  • A fever that hangs on, or it goes away but comes back in a few days.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Cola-colored urine. This indicates a kidney infection. It may take several weeks for this symptom to show up.

If the antibiotics don't seem to be working, let your doctor know right away.

Can You Prevent Strep Throat?

Strep, like all respiratory illnesses, is very contagious. It's spread by coughing and sneezing, and also by touching anything that's been touched by an infected person.

If it's going around, the best prevention is to wash your hands often. Boost your immune system naturally by taking a walk every day, and make sure you get enough rest. Eat lots of fresh fruit and veggies. You may want to take vitamin C and a garlic supplement for extra protection.

If there's any question in your mind as to whether it's just a sore throat, or something more serious, see your doctor right away.

Author's Bio: 

Want to take charge of your own health, but don't know where to begin? Start with a visit to Natural Health And Wellness Tips, where Darlene Norris shares the latest buzz on natural health. Darlene is a mom and grandma who has been using natural remedies for many years to keep her family healthy and happy.

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