Article by Joyce Baker
Can You Get Strep Throat Without Tonsils?
What is Strep Throat?
Strep throat (Streptococcus) is a throat infection which causes the throat to feel sore and uncomfortable. In most cases, the cause of people getting strep throat is Streptococcus bacteria attacking the nasopharynx.
It is essential to identify a sore throat – there are a number of possible health implications. If it is left untreated, strep throat could even cause effects such as:
- Kidney inflammation;
- Rheumatoid arthritis (joint pain and inflammation);
- Possible heart valve problems.
Strep throat without tonsils is most common in the 5-to-15 age range but it can affect people of all ages. If you or your child shows signs or symptoms of a sore throat, consult your doctor promptly for appropriate treatment.
Strep Throat Without Tonsils: Symptoms
- Sudden onset of throat pain, difficulty or pain when swallowing without symptoms of a runny nose or a cold;
- Red or swollen tonsils – in children, the membranes may appear white or grey.
- Fever, with temperature over 39 degrees C, headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, lymphadenopathy, body aches and discomfort.
- Children could also have breathing disorders, skin rashes and joint pain.
- A blood test may also reveal a high neutrophil count (neutrophils are a type of white blood cell that fights against infection);
- Group A streptococcus is also associated with other bacterial diseases such as sinusitis, otitis, arthritis, glomerulonephritis, low heart rate etc.
Treatment of Strep Throat
- Penicillin – In some cases, penicillin may be delivered by injection, such as when a young child is having difficulty swallowing from a sore throat, or vomiting.
- Amoxicillin – This antibiotic is in the same family as penicillin but is usually a preferred choice for children as it tastes better and is available in tablet form.
If you are allergic to penicillin, your doctor may recommend an antibiotic:
- A cephalosporin (antibiotic) such as cephalexin (KEFLEX);
- Erythromycin (antibiotic);
- Azithromycin (antibiotic) (Zithromax);
- Symptom relievers – In addition to antibiotics, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter medications to relieve a sore throat and reduce fever.
Because of the risk of Reye syndrome (a potentially life-threatening disease), aspirin is not given to children and adolescents. Be careful with acetaminophen (Paracetamol). Taken in large doses, it can cause liver problems. Read and follow the instructions on the label. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions.
Prevention of Strep Throat
- The patient should get sufficient rest. Sleep helps the body to fight infection. If there is a sore throat, he (or she) should stay at home, if possible. He should remain at home until he feels better and there are no signs of fever. He also should have completed a minimum of 24 hours of antibiotic treatment.
- Drink sufficient water. Keeping the throat moist and lubricated helps reduce swallowing. Drinking as much water as possible also helps prevent dehydration.
- Eat “soft” foods. Foods that are easy on the throat include soup, mashed potatoes, mashed apple or other fruit, cereal, yogurt and eggs. You can even puree food with a blender to make it easier to swallow. Cold foods such as fruit juices, regular yogurt or frozen yogurt are also “light” foods. Increase acidic foods such as orange juice.
- Gargle with warm, salt water. For older children and adults, multiple mouthwashes during the day can help relieve sore throat. Mix 1/4 teaspoon (1.2 ml) of salt in 8 ounces (237 ml) of warm water. Be sure to tell the child to spit out the liquid after gargling.
- Use a humidifier. Adding moisture to the air can help reduce discomfort. Lack of moisture keeps the mucous membranes in the throat dry and they become more irritated. Choose a cool-mist ultrasonic humidifier and clean it daily because bacteria and mold can grow in moisture. Saline nasal sprays also help keep mucous membranes moist.
- Stay away from stimulants. Cigarette smoking can trigger a sore throat and increase the likelihood of infection like tonsillitis. Also, avoid vapors from painting or cleaning products, which can irritate the throat and lungs.
- Low-impact activity plan for a sick child: If a test turns out positive for strep throat, give antibiotics for at least 24 hours before the child returns to school. When he (she) is at home, plan some low-key activities that he can enjoy.
How to Avoid Strep Throat
To prevent strep throat in the absence of tonsils:
- Hand washing: Proper hand washing is the best way to prevent these types of infections. That’s why it’s important to clean your hands often. Teach your children how to properly wash their hands, using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
- Cover the mouth when coughing or sneezing. Teach children to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze.
- Do not share personal items. Do not share eating or drinking utensils. Wash eating equipment carefully in warm, soapy water or in a dishwasher.
That is everything you should know about strep throat without tonsils and how to treat and avoid this disease. Hopefully, this article has helped you gain the information you need.