Whether you're a kid or adult, dealing with strep throat is not fun. Sometimes described as, "feeling like you swallowed razor blades," strep is usually a one-off that is easily treatable. However, for some, strep throat can be a recurring nightmare. There are some unlucky ones that keep getting it multiple times in a year. Is it luck, or is there a reason why you or your child are diagnosed with it so often? Doctors and scientists say it can be a bit of both.
Strep throat is an infection on the tonsils and back of throat caused by a bacteria known as group A Streptococcus. Approximately 25% of sore throats are actually strep throat. Overall, around 11 million people get strep throat infections annually. Although strep is typically found more often in children ages 5-15, anyone at any age can get it. Recurring strep throat is defined as getting strep more than three times in one calendar year. So why does it keep coming back? There isn’t one universal answer, but there are several factors that can contribute to this conundrum.
- Antibiotic Resistance: Antibiotics are typically prescribed to treat strep. But if you have recurring strep throat or other bacterial infections often, your body may build up a resistance to the medication, thus not curing it.
- Not Finishing the Course: Antibiotics are usually prescribed for ten days, but it is pretty common that people stop taking their meds when they are feeling better which can lead to a renewal of the strep infection.
- Compromised Immune System: Those that have an underlying condition or a weakened immune system, can be prone to small bacterial infections like strep.
- Unknown Carrier: There are some lucky ones that are strep carriers of the bacteria without even having symptoms. If you are around this person often, you will be exposed often.
- Lingering Bacteria: It could be that bacteria made its way onto your toothbrush or dentures. That is why it is super important to sterilize and clean possible affected areas. If it is a disposable toothbrush, toss it.
- More exposure: Children tend to get strep more often because they are around other kids in close quarters. Strep in school occurs more in winter and spring months. Plus, families with several children tend to pass it around to each other.
- Genetics: Some people are just predisposed to group A bacteria causing a lack of infection-fighting antibodies needed to successfully drive the bacteria away. In some cases, the strep bacteria in these individuals can lay dormant which puts them at risk for future infections.
Whatever the cause of your recurring strep throat, you will find that practicing good hygiene, washing your hands often, and sanitizing contaminated surfaces. Because strep is highly contagious, do your part to stop the spread by taking antibiotics or staying home until your symptoms are gone. To reduce your risks of getting strep throat, you can also help boost your immune system by taking vitamins, getting enough sleep, exercising, and avoiding prolonged stress. Checkable Wellness has all the supplements needed to keep you at your best.