When to Visit the ER for Cough and Sore Throat
There is nothing more invasive than a strep throat. A strep throat makes your throat very sore and generally ruins your day. A lot of people report their strep throats to emergency rooms but very few people actually know about the causes of their sore throats or ways through which they can prevent future occurrences.
What Is Strep Throat?
Strep throat is a common bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the throat making it very sore and painful. The inflammation is more often than not caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria and this explains the origin of the infection’s name.
Although strep throat is common in young children, it can affect even adults. It is highly contagious and spreads through a demographic in record time. As earlier on mentioned, the infection accounts for a very large number of emergency visits in North America. In North America, there are more than 20 million annual reported cases of strep throat.
Strep vs. Sore Throat
A wide variety of things can cause sore throats in both adults and children. Things such as bacteria, allergies, or viruses can cause pain in the throat. A sore throat represents a symptom, which has an underlying cause. A doctor has to identify the cause in order to treat it.
A sore throat that is usually accompanied by fever and sometimes even a headache, rash or stomach ache may indicate strep throat. Viruses are known to cause many sore throats. Infections that cause a sore throat may result in symptoms and signs like a runny nose and cough. Although antibiotics do not have an effect on viral infections, a doctor may recommend medications to manage the pain.
What are the Symptoms of Strep Throat?
The type and severity of strep throat symptoms varies from one individual to another. Some people experience mild symptoms like a simple sore throat and are able to go on with their daily activities while others are completely grounded by the same strep throat.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of strep throat that you should look out for:
A sudden unexplained fever especially above 100 degree Fahrenheit, should be the first warning sign that something is wrong. Fever is the body’s way of communicating to you that something is amiss somewhere and you should therefore be wary of the signs and symptoms you are experiencing.
The most basic indicator of a strep throat, is a sore throat. This is caused by the inflammation of the throat by the Streptococcus bacteria. The sore throat makes it very difficult to swallow anything and will generally feel very dry and painful.
Swollen Lymph Nodes in the Neck
If you are experiencing a sore throat accompanied by swollen lymph nodes in the neck, then you could be suffering from a strep throat. Lymph nodes are a very part of the body’s defense system against diseases. The nodes filter lymph fluid as it flows through and will trap any bacteria, viruses or any other foreign body. If you are suffering from strep throat therefore, the foreign bacteria will be trapped by the nodes and this will cause the swelling.
Some people complain of headaches when suffering from strep throat. This is attributed to the lack of enough hydration in the body. Strep throats make it very hard to drink water and therefore chances of dehydration are very high.
Loss of Appetite
As expected, strep throat will come in the way of food and will affect your appetite. With the throat inflamed, it becomes difficult for food to pass down the throat and there is an eventual loss of appetite.
Is Strep Throat Contagious?
Yes, strep throat is highly contagious and will spread like a wildfire. Through coughing and sneezing, it is very easy to pass the infection one person to another especially in crowded areas. This explains why the infection spreads very quickly among school going children. To avoid further spread of the infection, the infected should cover their mouths when coughing and sneeze using a handkerchief. It is important to avoid crowded places when there is an outbreak of strep throat as this reduces the chance of contracting the infection.
When Should You Go to The Emergency Room for Strep Throat?
Sore throats and fevers are common symptoms of many mild illnesses. However, you may require emergency care if they are accompanied by any of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Inability to swallow
- Loss of voice
- Inability to fully open your mouth
- High fever
- Coughing up blood
- Swelling on either side of your throat
How Do Emergency Rooms Treat Strep Throat?
If you are diagnosed with a strep throat, then your physician will prescribe antibiotics to help treat the infection. The most commonly used antibiotics in emergency rooms include amoxicillin and penicillin.
Drinking warm tea liquids, sucking on throat lozenges and gargling salty solutions are some of the most common home remedies which can help cure strep throats and you should try them before thinking about seeing a physician.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms alongside a sore throat, do not wait to be seen by a medical professional. If left untreated, the virus or bacteria causing your symptoms can lead to serious health problems in other parts of the body. ER facilities will be able to use quick diagnostic tests to check if a sore throat is caused by group A Streptococcus, or any other bacteria/virus, so that swift antibiotic therapy can be prescribed.
COVID-19 has been a serious concern for many patients over the last few years, particularly those who are immunocompromised. If you are experiencing a sore throat and fever and fear you may have COVID-19, stay away from others until you’re able to get a test and learn when to go to the ER for covid.
See also: Flu Symptoms vs COVID-19 Symptoms
ER of Texas Emergency Center has top-rated emergency room locations across the DFW area, including Highland Village, Little Elm, Frisco, Hurst, Colleyville, Texoma, Hillcrest, Uptown, Mansfield and surrounding communities.
If you are suffering from invasive strep throat, please visit one of our closest emergency room. We are open 24/7 and our doctors are board-certified and we will give you the medical attention you require. We offer high quality medical care for strep throats and other medical emergencies.