Prevention of Strep Throat

There are many ways to prevent a strep throat infection or at least minimize the risk. You should ensure that the following steps are taken to avoid getting the infection.

  • The best way to prevent strep throat of course, is to avoid being in contact with a person who has this condition. This is not always practical or easy, and if contact is unavoidable you need to maintain the highest level of hygiene and should minimize direct contact with the individual. Do not share any clothing, linen or vessels that this person has used.
  • Ensure that you wash your hands often to prevent the bacteria spreading to your nose and mouth. This is especially important before meals or before cooking. Use soap and water, preferably anti bacterial soap. Avoid the use of hand sanitizers as they are not as effective.
  • The bacteria that cause strep throat can be carried on food and drinks as well. Avoid sharing cutlery or straws or any glasses/cups and so on as you can get infected in this manner.
  • Boost your immunity by eating well, taking vitamin supplements, getting plenty of sleep and exercising as well. Staying healthy and fit can help prevent a strep throat. Persons with low immunity are more at risk of getting ill.
  • Practice respiratory hygiene. The infected person should ensure that he/she coughs or sneezes into a tissue. Used tissues should be disposed off in a separate dustbin. If you are near a person who is coughing, ensure that you cover your mouth as well.
  • Try to avoid crowded places, as a contagious infection is likely to spread rapidly in such areas.
  • Avoid smoking and avoid smokers as well. The throat tissues get irritated with smoke and can make you more prone to infections.
  • Clean any cuts or wounds. The bacteria can infect the wounds and then lead to a strep throat.
  • Use a humidifier to keep the air moist. This will keep your mucus membranes more moist and therefore more resistant to infections.

A strep throat may be one of the most common of all infections, but if not treated properly can lead to complications. These complications occur when the infection spreads to different parts of the body and could results in infections of these other parts. Complications from strep throat include the following:

  • Rheumatic fever (inflammatory arthritis)
  • Kidney damage (Post-streptococcal Glomerulonephritis)
  • Scarlet fever
  • It can cause other infections like an ear (otitis) or sinus infection.
  • An inflammation of the kidneys which affects the proper functioning of the kidneys.
  • Tonsillopharyngeal cellulitis ( an abscess in the tonsils)

Frequently asked questions
  1. Antibiotic Treatment of Children With Sore Throat; Jeffrey A. Linder, David W. Bates, Grace M. Lee, Jonathan A. Finkelstein, JAMA. 2005;294(18):2315-2322.doi:10.1001/jama.294.18.2315
  2. Center for Disease Control; July 17, 2005. Statement on GAS Disease.
  3. Hayes, C. and H. Williamson. July 17, 2005. Management of Group A Beta-Hemolytic Streptococcal Pharyngitis.