New Delhi: Strep throat is an infection caused by a group the streptococcus bacteria, and it’s very common among kids and teens. The symptoms of strep throat include fever, stomach pain, and red, swollen tonsils. Strep throat often causes Rheumatic fever (acute rheumatic fever or ARF), a disease that causes inflammatory lesions in connective tissue, especially that of the heart, joints, blood vessels, and subcutaneous tissue. Given this scenario, timely intervention and diagnosis are essential.
Strep throat usually requires treatment with antibiotics. Given its contagious nature, the usual recovery time has been a few days to a week often making children miss school and important course work. However according to a recent study published in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, children treated with amoxicillin for strep throat may return to school the next day without putting other children at risk for contracting the illness. If amoxicillin as a single dose is ingested by 5 PM (at least 12 hours before arrival at school the following day), a return to school the next morning should be permitted for return to school after diagnosis of strep throat. The dose of amoxicillin is 50 mg/kg/day.
All children treated with amoxicillin for streptococcal pharyngitis, if afebrile and improved, should be permitted to attend school after 12 hours of the initial dose. This recent development and way of treatment is extremely helpful in a country like India where the incidence of the infection is very high. It is estimated that about 6-10/1000 children suffer from Rheumatic Fever in the country.
Speaking about the issue, Padma Shri Awardee Dr KK Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India & Honorary Secretary General IMA said, “Timely diagnosis and proper treatment of Strep throat is extremely important given that it is highly contagious and can lead to rheumatic heart disease in children. People often confuse the symptoms of strep throat with those of the common flu and cough. However all parents must take their children to a doctor even at the slightest doubt. This new treatment measure is revolutionary and can go a long way in containing the infection and reducing the recovery period amongst school going children.”
Strep throat is spread by person-to-person contact with fluids from the nose or saliva. It commonly spreads among family or household members. Symptoms appear about 2 to 5 days after coming in contact with the strep germ. They may be mild or severe. Common symptoms include:
• Fever that may begin suddenly and is often the highest on the second day
• Red, sore throat that may have white patches
• Pain when swallowing
• Swollen, tender neck glands
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