Did You Know That You Can Stop Strep Throat from Returning?
“Yep, it’s Strep. Again.” Who wants to hear that from their doctor? Families that deal with recurring Strep Throat know how frustrating it can be to deal with frequent sick days, repeated antibiotics, and secondary infections in the sinus or ear.
Strep Throat (Streptococcal Pharyngitis) is caused by bacteria that live in the nose and throat. The good news is it can be treated with antibiotics and is no longer contagious after the ﬁrst 24 hours of antibiotic treatment. The bad news is that strep is highly contagious, individuals who are not sick can be carriers, and it can be spread for weeks by someone who does not take antibiotics.
Anything that comes out of the nose, mouth, or throat can carry the strep bacteria. You can catch strep if you touch a surface contaminated with strep then touch your nose or mouth. The reverse is also true. Touch anything that comes out of your nose, mouth, or throat or the surrounding skin and you can spread strep.
It is possible to reinfect yourself; this is why doctors advise patients who have tested positive for strep to toss their toothbrushes after 24 hours of antibiotics. But strep can survive and breed on more surfaces than your toothbrush. Use your understanding of how strep is spread to limit recurring infections.
Strep has been found in public and private places Keypads, countertops, desktops, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, keys, remotes and automatic openers, faucets, handheld electronic devices (cell phones, iPads, eReaders, cameras), pens and pencils, cups, toothbrushes, toothbrush holders, dental picks, neti pots, inhalers, nasal sprays, lip and facial products, suction supplies, tracheostomy pads and tape, retainers, mouth guards, nebulizers, facemasks, spacers, oxygen tubing, paciﬁers, bottles, teething toys, food.
Reduce your risk of recurring infections by limiting strep’s spread Wash hands often, especially if you or someone you know has Strep Throat. Do a 15 second soap and water wash when returning home, before eating or handling food, after brushing your teeth, after blowing your nose, anytime you use a tissue, and if you handle a used tissue.
Use an alcohol based hand sanitizer when away from home, especially after touching known hiding places for strep.
Do not cover a cough or sneeze with your hand. Use a tissue, your shoulder, or the bend of your elbow.
Go hands free with a Bluetooth or headset. Sanitize cell phones and other handheld electronic devices regularly (and more often if you or someone in your home has strep). Cleanse them before visiting someone who is immunocompromised and after visiting hospitals or nursing homes.
Have visitors clean their hands and portable electronic devices if someone in your home has an increased risk of illness. Remind them to clean and sanitize again when leaving if there is known strep in your home.
Finish the entire course of antibiotics, even if you feel better.
Don’t share straws, makeup, eating utensils, or cell phones.
Don’t use the same cloth to wipe faces and countertops.
Don’t reuse makeup sponges.
Follow manufacturer guidelines for cleaning and disposing of medical supplies that have contact with the face or throat or ﬂuids coming from these areas.