The symptoms of strep throat are easy to remember and important to know--a very sore throat, a fever over 100, no cough, swollen tonsils, pus on the tonsils and swollen lymph nodes in the neck. By the time three or more of these symptoms are in evidence, most people should see their doctor. By the time all symptoms are in evidence, they certainly should. Failure to treat a strep infection can lead to death or serious long-term injury.
Why Doctors Miss Strep Group C
Normally when a patient presents himself to a doctor with what may be a strep infection, the doctor runs a rapid antigen test for strep. This will pick up strep A but not strep C. If the patient only has two or three of the symptoms for strep, he may be sent home without treatment. If you believe you have a strep infection despite a negative antigen test, ask your doctor to culture your throat. This is the only way at the present time to identify strep C.
Most patients will perceive strep C as a bad sore throat. In many cases, they will treat it with over-the-counter pain relievers and sore throat lozenges. They may also gargle with salt water or take vitamin C. In many cases they will be able to fight the illness off. However, in some cases, symptoms will become very severe over the course of 3 or 4 days and patients will seek medical attention. Most doctors will then treat them with antibiotics, because strep C is a severe illness that may cause sinus abscesses, ear infections and even rheumatic fever if left untreated. It may even be fatal to young children. Penicillin is the standard antibiotic used to treat strep C, curing up to 90% of cases. For children, amoxicillin is often used instead. No matter which antibiotic is used, great care must be taken to finish the entire course of antibiotics in order to avoid creating a strep C infection which is immune to antibiotics. Strep C should not be treated without the help of a doctor once symptoms have become severe.
Treating Pain and Fever
Strep C is a very painful illness. Treating the pain allows the patient to sleep and eat which speeds recovery. Tylenol, Advil or Motrin work well to control pain in most cases. More severe cases of Strep C will require treatment with prescription pain medications.
Food & Fluids
Patients with a strep infection find eating and drinking painful. Beverages and foods that are warm, rather than hot or cold, are tolerated best. Water is what most people choose to drink, but weak tea can be quite soothing because the tannic acids in the tea work as an anesthetic on the throat. Soups or clear broths work best when the infection is at its peak. Toast and other foods that can scratch the lining of the throat are not recommended.