What To Do If You Are A Strep Carrier?

March 27, 2018

Jelly Jeff

What To Do If You Are A Strep Carrier?

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Streptococcus is one of the most common infected bacteria. According to some studies, more than 50 percent of normal people are having this kind of bacteria without knowing and you can also be one of them. That is what makes streptococcus become more dangerous since millions of source of infections have not been observed.

So, the question is how to find out and more important is what to do if you are a strep carrier?

Fortunately, this article provides an overview and discussion to handle your issue. You will know about the diagnostic, the treatment and how to keep it from spreading.

What is streptococcus?

Streptococcus is a Gram-positive bacterium belonging to the phylum Formicates and the order Lactobacillales. In human, most of Streptococci are symbiotic bacteria in the skin, digestive system, and respiratory system, some cause disease such as Streptococcus pyogenes, Streptococcus pneumonia, Streptococcus mutan [1].   

Streptococcus is a Gram-positive bacterium
Streptococcus is a Gram-positive bacterium

How many groups of Streptococcus?

The classification of Streptococcus is complicated, sometimes unconvincing. In terms of disease-causing ability, for simple, there are two types of Streptococcus bacteria: alpha-hemolytic Streptococci and beta-hemolytic Streptococci.

While the first group is very common and lives naturally in humans without causing any symptoms, the second one is responsible for many diseases. Beta-hemolytic Streptococci is divided into four groups: Group A Streptococci (GAS), Group B Streptococci (GBS), Group C Streptococci (GCS) and Group D Streptococci (GDS).

GAS is considered to the reason of many common infections including strep throat, impetigo or scarlet fever. Additionally, GBS is likely to affect newborn babies through the amniotic fluid since it lives in the digestive system and female genitals.[2]Therefore, parents should be careful and take time to find out CAN NEWBORNS GET STREP THROAT?

The numbers of information about GCS and GDS are much less acknowledged since the diseases caused by these two groups are less common. Knowing many kinds of Streptococcus would give you an overview about what to do if you are a Strep carrier.

What is a strep carrier?

Being a strep carrier means that you have the strep bacteria living in your system, but you do not suffer any symptoms because of Streptococcus. Carriers are typically harmless, but they can be the source of potential complications for repeated illness.

Why being a strep carrier should be concerned about?

Additionally, external variables may cause the bacteria to become active in your system, which degrades your health. Carriers can still spread the infection to others. Therefore, somebody may be confused about what to do if you are a strep carrier. That way you are here to address this question.

Carriers can still spread the infection to others
Carriers can still spread the infection to others

How do I know if I am a strep carrier?

A rapid strep test, which is called rapid antigen detection test (RADT), is made to find GAS antigens in the blood. A negative rapid test points out that the affected person probably does not have streptococcus in his system, but a throat culture may need to be performed for confirmation, especially among children and adolescents.

If the throat culture is positive for the group a streptococcus, then the person tested does have strep throat. According to 2012 guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), confirmatory testing on adults is not usually recommended since adults have lower rates of strep throat and far lower risk of complications than children. RADT is what to do in order to confirm if you suspect you are a strep carrier.

What to do if you are a Strep carrier?

In fact, not many patients do care about their carrier’s status but are likely to care about the symptoms and treatment side effects. The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) considers streptococci carriers at low risk for developing complications and spreading the infection to close contacts.

When considering the implications of the carrier state, several important questions arise. Does treatment eradicate carriage? Does being a carrier convey a risk for complications such as acute rheumatic fever or post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis?

Although there are several antimicrobial treatments which are effective in eradicating Strep carriage, the problem remaining is the benefit of eradication to patients. If there is no risk of nonsuppurative complications and the risk of transmission to others is low, it would appear that there may be little to gain by treating carriers.

Which case should Strep carrier be treated?

According to the 2002 IDSA practice guidelines routine screening for and treatment of GAS carriage is not recommended except under the circumstances:

  • Acute rheumatic fever or post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis outbreak.
  • GAS pharyngitis outbursts in a closed communit.
  • A family history of acute rheumatic fever.
  • Multiple documented GAS pharyngitis episodes within a family over several weeks despite therapy.
  • Exaggerated patient/family anxiety about GAS.
  • All treatment options, except tonsillectomy, have been useless.

One remarkable reason for not eradicating Strep carriage is to avoid confusion when the patient presents with subsequent episodes of symptomatic pharyngitis. To sum up, a treatment for strep carrier is not necessary in most cases and getting rid of Streptococcus is not a compulsory thing to do.

When should you visit a medical professional?

If you experience any of following symptoms, a routine treatment should be considered [3]:

  • Red, sore throat with possible white patches. A sore throat and a hoarse voice can be the first sign of an illness.
  • Fever above about 101-102 F. However sometimes this symptom can be really vague. For more details you should read can you have strep throat without a fever.
  • Chills
  • Pain when swallowing. The pain may feel like squeezing or burning.
  • Swollen neck glands. Swollen of glands are sign bodies fighting infection. Check your glands if they are swollen, they may feel like tender and painful lumps, especially these under the jaws.
  • A headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Body aches

Some difference between Strep throat and viral infection is that strep throat usually doesn’t cause a cough, runny nose, or watery eyes. However, sometimes it is really difficult to distinguish strep throat and tonsillitis. If you are questioning, the answer is here: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STREP THROAT AND TONSILLITIS.

Being aware of these symptoms is what to do if you are a strep carrier

Please make an appointment with your doctor if your health is getting worse.

What factors can change the bacteria into illness?

Stress

Stress is considered to be the most important element that turns a carrier into a patient. Both physical and mental stress can affect your body in a negative way. When your body defense is attenuated by environmental impact, it is a great chance for Streptococci to develop and proliferate.

One theory is that stresses weaken your digestive system leading to the lack of nutrition by decreasing the absorption and so far, weaken your body. Moreover, stress may affect your symbiotic bacteria so symptoms can be expressed. Thus, avoiding stress is what to do, especially if you are a Strep carrier.

Stress is considered to be the most important element that turns a carrier into a patient
Stress is considered to be the most important element that turns a carrier into a patient

Immunodeficiency

People with the impaired immune system are the most vulnerable objects… This includes anyone who:

  • Was born with an immune system problem
  • Has HIV, AIDS or cancer
  • Had an organ transplant
  • Takes medicine that suppresses the ability to fight off germs

People recently tend to have their tonsils removed since they think that will protect them from strep throat. But is it true to get rid of your first natural protection fence? If you are interested in this subject, please visit WHY DO PEOPLE GET THEIR TONSILS REMOVED? for more details.

Infection

Another factor, that is easily overlooked, is contacting with an infected individual. Especially parents are taking care of their sick children but do not remember that they are the most dangerous source of infection.  So strep carrier should stand off these factors if they do not want trouble. Therefore, strep carrier should stay away from sources of infection.

How to keep it from spreading?

Hand-washing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of common infections, including strep throat. Making sure to wash your hands regularly throughout the day is what to do  even you are a strep carrier or not, especially:

  • before preparing or eating food
  • before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • before and after you spending time with someone who is ill
  • after using the bathroom or changing a diaper
  • after sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose

Don’t forget to have everyone in the house wash their hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer many times daily. But are you washing your hand correctly? Follow the five steps below to wash your hands the right way every time.

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), and apply soap.
  • Obliterate and lather your hands with the soap. Remember to wash the backs of your hands, between your fingers.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

You and your family members can take simple steps to help stop the spread of infection at home. For example, if someone in your house has strep throat, sharing food, drinks, eating utensils or place settings with them can spread bacteria.

Try not to share face cloths, towels, and pillowcases with them too.

Washing all dishes, kitchen utensils, and laundry in hot soapy water is highly recommended.

Covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or a cough is required, using a tissue or the inner crook of your elbow.

Therefore, these are some basic ways that have to be done in order not only to stop the spread of Streptococcus but also most of the infected diseases.

What to do if you have strep throat?

If you suspect you have strep throat, you should go to your doctor. Strep throat can be simply diagnosed by using a simple throat culture. If your test is positive for Streptococcus they will likely prescribe antibiotics. Doctors most often prescribe penicillin or amoxicillin to treat strep throat. They are the chosen because they’re safe, inexpensive, and they work well on strep bacteria.

The situation tends to improve quickly, your symptoms should disappear usually within 24 to 48 hours after taking antibiotics. If you are anxious about using antibiotics, you could read HOW LONG DOES STREP THROAT LAST WITHOUT ANTIBIOTICS? and BEST ANTIBIOTIC FOR STREP THROAT IN ADULTS for more information.

But you have to remember to take correct doses on time since stopping treatment too soon may not kill all of the bacteria, and if you become sick again, then the remaining bacteria may be resistant to the antibiotics you’ve taken. Some treatments that request you to rely on at home may be to gargle with saline water 3 to 4 times a day and inhale steam two to three times a day.

What can you do besides taking medicine?

  • In addition to medications, simple changing dietary is needed so as to help you manage the symptoms of strep throat. For example, drink lots of water than normal at least 1 liter per day.
  • Having a vegetable or chicken soup would not be a bad choice to soothe the irritation in the throat.
  • Spicy food should not be on the list since it irritates your throat. These are some general advice, I recommend you to learn what to eat when you have strep.
  • Rest is one of the most important things you can do to regain your strength and support your immune system. Make sure you get enough sleep at night at least 8 hours per day.
  • Stay home from work or school for a day or two and do not try to overdo it if you do not want to be supererogatory. Overwork only makes the situation worse.
  • Ensuring that the conditions you live are hygienic is what to do especially if you are a Strep carrier. During treatment, isolate all your relatives, as this is an infection that has the potential to spread.
  • Make sure that you cover your mouth while you are talking with the person who has high risk.
  • Last but not least, try not to make close contact.

These are some basic things to answer your question “What to do if you are a Strep carrier? “. However, prevention is better than cure so take care of your health before it is too late. Hope you have learned some more useful information to protect not only yourself but also your family and the community.

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