As influenza continues to hit Pennsylvania hard according to the Centers for Disease Control, cold weather also means an increase in the number of strep throat cases.
Boiling Springs Family Medicine physician Dr. Chad Jumper talked about strep throat, its symptoms and what complications could arise in rare cases.
Q: What are the signs and symptoms of strep throat? Are there any unusual symptoms?
A: “Signs and symptoms of strep throat include sore throat, fever, headache, enlarged tonsils, rash and swollen neck glands (lymph nodes). Patients with strep throat often do not have the typical cold symptoms of cough and runny nose.”
Q: Is strep throat more likely to affect adults or children?
A: “The disease is most common in school age children but can affect preschool age patients and adults.”
Q: How do physicians diagnose it and what is the treatment?
A: “Physicians diagnose strep throat by symptoms and with a throat culture. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, treatment includes antibiotics and symptom relief (tylenol, motrin, salt water gargles, cough drops, etc.)”
Q: What happens if strep throat is left undiagnosed and untreated?
A: “Untreated strep can go on to cause rheumatic fever, an inflammatory disease that causes problems with the heart, muscles, joints and skin. Other complications include kidney problems and a rare behavioral condition called PANDAS.”
Q: How often does scarlet fever occur nowadays, and what is the treatment?
A: “Scarlet fever is is rare complication of strep infection, with 20,000 cases per year happening in the Unites States. The condition involves a sore throat, fever, and a bright red rash over most of the body. It is treated with antibiotics.”