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Strep Throat

Strep throat is an infection by the streptococcus bacteria involving the back of the throat and tonsils, if present.  Typical symptoms include pain with swallowing, fever and tender lumps in the neck. The illness can come on rapidly or over several days.  Occasionally there is a fine red rash on the upper body (scarletina).  Children may also complain of a stomach ache and occasionally vomit.

Strep is quite contagious and more than one family member may become ill.

Fortunately, strep throat is an infection which an antibiotic medication such as penicillin can cure 95% of the time, and there are good alternatives in the case of penicillin allergy.

Complications of strep can occur. Occasionally an abscess or pocket of infection develops behind a tonsil, and may require a special procedure to overcome.  Rarely, strep can lead to kidney or heart conditions.

Regardless of symptoms, less than one third of all sore throats are caused by strep.

Usually the diagnosis is made with a rapid enzyme test in Urgent Care.  This test is positive in most cases of strep, but occasionally the diagnosis is made with a lab culture the following day.  We will contact you within 24-48 hrs if the second test (strep culture) is positive for strep. We will then arrange for you to be given the appropriate medication.

Home Care for Strep Throat

  • Strep infection is considered to still be contagious for the first day while treatment has been started.  Children are usually kept out of school or daycare during the first 24 hours.

  • Try to drink plenty of fluids, and definitely do not share food or drink with anyone while being treated for strep.  Use a humidifier at night to prevent drying of the throat.

  • Finish all the antibiotic medication that has been prescribed.

  • Gargles with dilute salt water or peroxide provide some limited relief of pain.  Ibuprofen, acetaminophen or aspirin are helpful in controlling pain and fever.

  • Wash or replace toothbrushes, retainers and other similar items.

 

Call or Return If any of the Following Occur:

  • Pain and fever are not significantly improved within 48 hours of treatment.

  • Increased pain on one side of the throat or severe pain with opening the mouth.


  • Persistent or increasing enlargement of a neck gland or glands.

  • Blockage of swallowing or any difficulty breathing.

  • Any reaction to the medication such as vomiting or rash.

 

PNEUMONIA

Pneumonia is an infection of one or both lungs.   It can occur in young healthy individuals but is more often seen in people with previous lung disease or other chronic health conditions.  The degree of illness can vary from relatively mild "walking pneumonia" to a serious life-threatening condition requiring hospital care.

There are many germs that can cause pneumonia. The infection usually results from inhaling these germs at times when they they get past the body's natural immune defenses.  It can start suddenly without warning, or it can come on when you are ill with a viral cold or flu.

Symptoms generally include cough, fever and loss of energy.  Sometimes there is painful breathing and shortness of breath.  With bacterial pneumonia, the cough often raises thick discolored mucous and there are bouts of high fever and chest pains.  Walking pneumonias tend to have a more dry cough, often with chest pains and a tightness sensation in the chest.

Pneumonia is almost always treated with antibiotic medications (sometimes by injection), even though there are virus caused pneumonias (common in children).  Certain inhaled medications may also be prescribed to reduce symptoms of wheezing and chest tightness.

The diagnosis of pneumonia can be made by taking an X-ray of the chest, but in some situations a good examination of the lungs is sufficient to start treatment.

Home Care for Pneumonia

  • Rest and drink plenty of fluids.  Avoid strenuous activities and maintain a nutritious diet.  Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for fever and take all medications exactly as prescribed.

  • If you are a smoker, stop, at least while you are ill (if not for good).  Cigarette smoke impairs the lungs ability to clear out the infected mucous.

  • Often a repeat chest X-ray is recommended in about six weeks to be insure the infection has completely cleared up and to be sure there is no other lung condition contributing to the pneumonia.  You should follow up with your regular medical provider at that time.  Recheck sooner if needed.

  • Expect the cough to continue even though you may be feeling better.  It sometimes takes weeks for the lung and bronchial system to heal up completely.

 

Call or Return If any of the Following Occur:

You develop more shortness of breath, particularly at rest.

  • Vomiting or unable to take adequate fluids or medications.

  • Increasing chest pains.

  • No improvement in 48 hours.

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