In this week's What's Going Around, a familiar illness is still hitting people in our area. Thanks to kids being back in school, it's spreading faster.
From West Virginia to the Valley doctors are treating patients for strep throat. The most common throat infection caused by bacteria. It's found most often in children between the ages of 5 and 15, although it can occur in younger children and adults.
Dr. Greg Jesteadt at Harrisonburg Family Practice says symptoms are similar with those of the common cold so it's important to know the difference.
Strep throat left undiagnosed and untreated can rarely result in a serious condition called Rheumatic Fever that can damage heart valves.
Strep throat symptoms include a red and painful sore throat. You may have white patches on your tonsils. You also may have swollen lymph nodes, run a fever, and have a headache.
Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain can occur but are more common in children. If you have strep throat, your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic. If you have a cold you can treat symptoms systematically. It's also important to know what not to do. Dr. Jesteadt says for example "antihistamines... are often given/taken for the common cold, but are completely ineffective."
For diagnosis and proper treatment of either strep throat or a cold, contact your doctor.
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