Alphabetic Guide to Child Care - Strep throat
Streptococcal infections, commonly called strep throat, are caused by bacteria that inflame and infect the tissues in the throat. Symptoms include sore throat, swollen glands, redness or blotchy white spots on the throat and tonsils. Severe throat pain may occur for three to four days of the two-week run of the illness. Strep infections should be treated immediately after diagnosis by a physician with antibiotics such as erythromycin or penicillin.
Strep throat poses several risks to the health of both the adult and child sufferer. If left untreated, strep bacteria may produce the toxin that triggers scarlet fever, which also requires treatment with penicillin.
Strep can also lead to rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever can develop into rheumatic heart disease, leaving the child with a heart murmur. Also treated with penicillin, the disease leaves little damage if caught and treated early.
The last serious problem to arise from a strep infection is relatively new. There a new strep type produces the same symptoms as toxic shock syndrome. The rare form of streptococcus causes low blood pressure, rash, high fever, and rapid organ and blood destruction. It ends in death in 20 percent of the cases. It affects children and adults. Due to the rapid onset of serious and deadly symptoms, it is essential that medical treatment be sought immediately if you or your child suffers any one of the signs of this disease.