If you have a sore throat, you may not have strep throat - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

If you have a sore throat, you may not have strep throat

(Source: KWES) (Source: KWES)
(KWES) -

As the seasons change, cases of the flu start to rise but cases of strep throat are all year round.

"You're going to have a sore throat, some people may or may not have coughs, you'll have a fever, usually high fever. Some kids have abdominal pain, some kids don't," said Dr. Jorge Alamo with Medical Center Hospital.

The infection is spread airborne if someone sneezes or coughs. Although it can affect people of all ages, it's very common in children. But most patients who come in don't exactly have strep throat.

"If the patient comes with a sore throat and lots of cough, many times it's actually not strep throat," said Alamo. "Many times it's something else."

He said one out of 10 patients who test positive for strep are treated with antibiotics to prevent future health risks such as kidney or heart failure.

"The strep can stay in your body and affect the kidney and heart years later," he said. "We treat 5-10% with antibiotics not because now, but for the effect in the future."

Alamo said 90% of throat infections are viral and don't require antibiotics since they can go away by themselves with the help of drinking plenty of fluids and getting bed rest.

"Parents are not happy because parents want antibiotics, the reason we don't use antibiotics is the last 40-50 years we're creating resistance. We expect 50 to 60 years, we won't use most of the antibiotics we use as of now." 

If you have a throat infection, make sure you visit your doctor to do an in house test that takes about 10 to 15 minutes to assure you need antibiotics or not. Washing hands and using hand sanitizers can prevent the infection from spreading.

Also, cover your mouth if you sneeze or cough with your elbow. Most antibiotics include a shot or pill and the recovery time is less than a week. But always be sure to get a diagnosis. 

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