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Oct 25, 2012

Healthy Living coughs up details about strep throat

How do you know if your sore throat is cold or flu related or if it is a more serious throat infection? That question will be answered tonight in Healthy Living, which looks at a condition known as strep throat.


Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

Most of us can identify with the pain and discomfort of a sore throat. It is one of several symptoms of a cold or flu. But the typical signs of a sore throat can also be signaling a bacterial infection causing what is commonly referred to as Strep throat.


Dr. Fernando Antonio Cuellar, Internist/Intensivist

Fernando Antonio Cuellar

“Strep throat is the short for Streptococcus throat which is an infection of the throat or the pharynx that is caused by bacteria called Streptococcus for short they call it strep throat. It is a particular type of infection of the throat because one it’s bacterial two it can lead to severe consequences. And these three consequences are easily preventable.”


Strep Throat or Pharyngitis, as it is medically known, is very often dismissed as a mere sore throat. A person with strep throat would have a sore throat; but someone with a sore throat doesn’t necessarily have a streptococcus infection.


Dr. Fernando Antonio Cuellar

“Sore throat – as I gather it – people would refer to a discomfort in throat, pain itchy numbness difficulty swallowing at time and they would come to the office complaining about that. That they feel this discomfort then we are to ask them about the cough when did it start; if there is any phlegm being produced, if there is any fever, pains what have you.  Most people can identify a normal throat from an abnormal throat because a normal throat would look nice or pink. A throat that is infected and has any inflammation or sore throat would be red, swollen, but particularly you would look for signs of puss in the throat which are usually white in color it can in the throat itself or it can be lodged by where we call the tonsil and I think that’s where the biggest suspicion to differentiate between a sore throat which is usually caused by viruses as oppose to the strep throat where we would see these white exudates.”


So how can you know if it’s a sore or strep throat? Start by checking the throat for tenderness and swollen lymph nodes. Pay attention to the other symptoms you may be having. If it is mostly runny or stuffy nose, headaches and other common cold/flu symptoms then it may just be a sore throat.


Dr. Fernando Antonio Cuellar

“When it is only the throat as the primary & main complaint; difficulty swallowing then you would say that this might not be a sore throat but it should be checked out by a physician.”


Dr. Cuellar adds that strep throat does NOT have to be accompanied by cough or being hoarse. Most importantly it is not an infection to ignore.


Dr. Fernando Antonio Cuellar

“It can cause complications to your kidneys. You can have a bad kidney infection: pilo-nephritis because of the streptococcus bacteria or as serious you can have heart condition caused by the bacteria. The streptococcus, there is a connection between that and your heart valve. You can actually suffer a heart valve injury or damage from a strep infection.”


The complications would be a more long term effect; the crucial step is getting diagnosed then properly treated.


Dr. Fernando Antonio Cuellar

“For a diagnosis of strep throat you have to actually identify the strep bacteria. This means you have to use a swab. Diagnosis is made by taking a swab, you send it to the lab and they will come back and tell you this is streptococcus.  I find that many people are undertreated. They don’t take the amount of antibiotics. It is very treatable; any penicillin derivative works well. Those who are allergic to penicillin; there are antibiotics but you don’t need any expensive antibiotics to deal with it.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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