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Staph infection of the throat is one of the commonly occurring illnesses of the upper respiratory tract affecting several people worldwide. This article will help you understand more about staph infection in the throat and mouth or staph throat, its causes, signs, and symptoms along with treatment for the same.
What Is Staph Infection?
As the name suggests, staph infection or staph throat occurs due to a bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus which is a commonly found human pathogen.
This bacteria is the leading cause of bacterial infections among humans such as;
- Infective endocarditis
- Device-related infections
- Infections of the skin
- Soft tissues, and
- The respiratory tract.
The most common sites for colonization of this bacteria in the human body are the groin, armpits, nose, and throat.
Can You Get Staph Infection In Your Throat?
The bacteria staphylococcus aureus releases toxins that cause inflammation, swelling, and infection of the throat. Studies have found out that the throat is the most common site for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Higher rates of staphylococcal infections are documented at extremes of life, with peaks during the first few years of life and gradual decline during young adulthood and then increased rates with advancing age.
Staph infection shows an increased incidence among males as compared to females. Also, persons with HIV are very likely to have a staph infection.
Symptoms Of Staph Infection In The Throat
Staph infection of the throat generally presents with signs and symptoms corresponding to the exact site infected. Also, the duration of signs and symptoms indicate whether the infection is acute, sub-acute, or chronic.
Some commonly observed signs and symptoms of staph infection in the throat are;
- The scraped sensation of rawness in the throat
- Pain in throat while swallowing solid food or liquids
- Voice may be altered due to thick mucus secretion in the throat and impeded movements of the vocal cords due to inflammation and swelling
- Tonsils may be inflamed and swollen causing throat pain and difficulty in swallowing
- Lymph nodes of the neck may become enlarged and painful as they attempt to drain out the bacteria
- Excess mucus secretion from the nose and throat may be present. In case of involvement of the sinuses, post-nasal dripping of mucus may be experienced by the patient
- Nasal obstruction and post-nasal irritation may be present especially in infants
- Constitutional symptoms like fever, loss of appetite, headache and body ache may be present.
Throat examination of a patient with a staph infection in the throat may show the following signs which may tell about the type of infection;
- Catarrhal â€“ Congestion and swelling of the throat with redness
- Purulent â€“ The wall of the throat may be coated with pus-like mucus discharge
- Ulcerative â€“ In some cases, ulcerations may form on the wall of the throat
Causes Of Staph Infection In Throat
Approximately 10-15% of cases of throat infection occur due to two major bacteria, Staphylococcus and Streptococcus. Most of the staph infections and strep infections of the throat are either hospital-associated or acquired through community spread. Frequently, a common viral cold may get converted to a superadded bacterial infection.
How Do You Get Staph Infection In Your Throat?
Some risk factors associated with a staph infection in the throat are;
- Pre-existing upper respiratory tract infection
- Prolonged hospitalization
- Prolonged use of antibiotics
- Compromised immune status as in HIV
- Gastro-intestinal tract illnesses
- Environmental causes;
- Cold foods or cold drinks lower the resistance by causing vasoconstriction
- Spread from one infected person to another
- Crowded or poorly ventilated environment
- Foreign body stuck in the throat
How To Treat Staph Infection In Throat?
A sore throat is generally self-limiting and recovers within a week. Staph infection of the throat on the other hand requires proper medical management to prevent its potential complications. Also, the management of antibiotic-resistant staph infection of the throat remains to be a major challenge for clinicians worldwide.
Conservative management of staph infection of the throat includes the following;
- Adequate bed rest and sleep
- Plenty of water to prevent dehydration
- Antibiotics, as advised by your doctor, will be required to control the infection
- Analgesics or anti-inflammatory medicines are prescribed to manage fever, pain, and inflammation or swelling of the upper respiratory tract
- Decongestants may be advised in case the patient complains of shortness of breath
- Lozenges may be advised to soothe the throat
- Warm saline gargles several times a day are advised
- Steam inhalation 3-4 times a day is advised to soothe the throat and reduce symptoms of throat swelling and congestion, mucus production, and cough
How To Prevent Staph Infection?
Some tips which help to prevent staph infection are;
- Avoid close contact with a person with a throat infection. Also avoid sharing utensils, food, or water with an infected person
- Maintain distance if you notice a person coughing or sneezing
- Drink plenty of water
- Wash your hands with soap and water frequently
- Avoid touching your nose and mouth with unclean hands
- Eat a nutritious diet rich in nuts, grains, and seeds. A well-balanced diet with adequate proteins, fats, and carbohydrates are necessary to prevent infections and maintain immunity
- Adequate sleep and regular exercise are necessary for optimal health
- Maintain general hygiene like taking a bath, wearing clean clothes, cleaning bedding and other surroundings
When To See A Doctor?
Staph infection of the throat is in itself a serious condition of the throat which has to be diagnosed and treated timely. Patients must see a doctor under the following conditions;
- Throat pain severe enough to cause pain on swallowing
- High-grade fever not responding to medicines
- Bloodstained mucous secretion from the throat
- Difficulty in breathing
- Inability to eat or drink
- Persistence of symptoms in spite of being on medications
A sore throat can range anything from a plain viral infection to a staph infection or a strep throat. If you are noticing any of the symptoms mentioned above, you must visit a doctor immediately and seek proper treatment for the same.