Few parents haven’t heard a teenager bemoan about having strep. This keep you “off the playing field” or “out of the party” instigator is much more than just a sore throat.
Streptococcal (strep) bacteria infections are categorized into group A and group B type invasions.
Group A strep causes:
Untreated or under-treated strep throat can develop into rheumatic fever.
Some group A strep bacteria have the potential to cause severe infections, such as
- sepsis ~ blood infection
- necrotizing fasciitis ~ flesh eating disease
- toxic shock syndrome ~ multiple organ infection
All severe group A strep infections may lead to shock, organ failure, and death. Thus, it is imperative you take steps to get diagnosed and treated quickly.
Those at a greater risk for developing a severe strep infection are:
- burn victims
- intravenous drug users
- children with chickenpox
- suppressed immune systems
- those on steroid treatments or chemotherapy
- those with chronic cellulitis, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, cancer
Severe group A strep does occur in healthy folks despite no known risk factors.
Symptoms of a severe group A strep infection greatly depends on which specific infection you are experiencing, but can involve:
A group B strep screen test should be taken close to delivery, and if it is present an I.V. of antibiotics administered during labor may save your baby’s life.
The bacteria that causes group B strep diseases normally dwells in the intestine, vagina or rectum. Often not harmful nor causing symptoms of infection. If you are a carrier of strep B and pregnant, any major concern is during birth.
However, adults are also susceptible to group B strep infections, which can cause:
Antibiotics are used to treat both A and B types of strep infections.
A rapid strep test is a fast diagnostic throat test to determine whether or not streptococcal bacteria is present. This quick test is only designed to detect group A streptococcal bacteria.
There are some “do it yourself at home” strep tests available on the market to give you an indication of what may be causing your sore throat. A trip to the doctor is still necessary to confirm your suspicions and treat your suspected strep throat.