Is your throat feeling sore and scratchy? If yes, you might have strep throat — an infection in the tonsils and throat caused by bacteria known as group A Streptococcus.
Although strep throat affects people of all ages, children, and adolescents are at high risk. The infection is very contagious and spreads quickly. And if left untreated, strep throat can bring complications like rheumatic fever or kidney inflammation.
Therefore, if you or your child displays signs and symptoms of strep throat, visit your doctor for immediate diagnosis and treatment. You can take over-the-counter medication to relieve the soreness, pain, and fever.
But does prednisone help with strep throat? Here's all you need to know.
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Strep throat is a highly contagious bacterial infection that mostly affects children. The infection spreads when you share food or drink with an infected person.
You’re also at risk of getting infected if you come into contact with an object contaminated with strep throat-causing bacteria.
Signs and symptoms of strep throat may vary depending on the individual. Common symptoms include:
Red and swollen tonsils — sometimes with streaks of pus or white patches
Swollen, tender lymph nodes in the neck
Tiny red spots on the soft and hard palate
Nausea or vomiting — especially in young children
Since strep throat is a bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection and inhibit the spreading of the bacteria. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention¹ (CDC) has approved eight different antibiotics for treating pharyngitis (strep throat). They include:
Antibiotics shorten the length of illness while minimizing symptoms. Moreover, they prevent the spread of the bacteria causing pharyngitis and rheumatic fever.
Your doctor may recommend corticosteroids² like prednisone to reduce pain and inflammation and relieve strep throat. They may recommend a single dose of prednisone in certain instances to help relieve symptoms of strep throat.
Prednisone minimizes your immune system's response to strep throat, reducing symptoms like swelling and allergic reactions.
However, clinical guidelines³ show a weak recommendation of corticosteroids like prednisone for strep throat.
Research⁴ suggests that corticosteroids like prednisone may provide symptomatic benefits to patients with strep throat when taken over a short period and at low to moderate doses.
Always adhere to your doctor's instructions when using prednisone for strep throat or other diseases.
Prednisone is taken orally. To prevent stomach upset, take this medication with milk or food as directed by your physician.
This corticosteroid comes in tablet and liquid form. If you're taking the tablet form, take it with a full glass of water unless otherwise directed by your doctor. If you're taking liquid prednisone, use a special measuring device/spoon to measure the correct dosage. Avoid using household spoons, as it may lead to incorrect dosage.
Apart from antibiotics and corticosteroids, various home remedies can help relieve symptoms of strep throat. They include the following:
Get plenty of rest — If you have strep throat, stay at home and get enough sleep to allow your body to fight the infection. Also, keep your children home until they are free of fever, and ensure you (or your children) take antibiotics for at least 24 hours.
Eat soothing foods — Soups, cooked cereals, soft fruits, and yogurts should soothe your throat. Cold foods like frozen fruit pops and yogurt may also be good for you. Avoid spicy or acidic foods like orange juice.
Drink plenty of water — Water will keep your throat moist and lubricated to ease swallowing and prevent dehydration.
Use honey — You shouldn't give honey to children under 12 months.
Gargle with warm salty water — Mix ¼ teaspoon of table salt in 8 ounces of water and gargle several times a day. Spit out the liquid after gargling.
Stay away from irritants — Avoid cigarette smoke and fumes from paints or cleaning products, as they can irritate the lungs and throat and increase the likelihood of tonsillitis and other infections.
Strep throat is a highly contagious infection that can rapidly spread through contact with the eyes, mouth, or nose. Therefore, you should take preventive measures to minimize the spread of infection.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing.
If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your elbow or upper sleeve.
Always keep your hands clean. Avoid sharing personal items, as they can aid the spread of strep throat.
If there’s no water or soap, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Lastly, speak to your doctor for appropriate treatment as soon as possible.
Strep throat is a contagious infection in the tonsils and throat caused by group A Streptococcus. It affects people of all ages, but children are more vulnerable. Symptoms include painful swallowing, throat pain, and fever.
Moreover, at-home remedies like honey, gargling with salt water, and getting enough rest can help relieve strep throat symptoms. Before using prednisone for strep throat, talk to your doctor.
Yes. Prednisone is a corticosteroid that can help reduce pain, inflammation, and strep throat symptoms.
Prednisone comes in liquid and tablet form, both taken orally. Take it as prescribed by your doctor.
Prednisone for strep throat is given in one-off dosing. However, you might still get side effects even with a single dose.
Pharyngitis (Strep throat) | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Corticosteroids for sore throat | The NNT
Strep throat: Care instructions | My Health Alberta
Strep throat: All you need to know | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
When and how to wash your hands | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
User reviews for prednisone to treat pharyngitis | Drugs.com