When I woke up Friday morning with a sore throat, I thought, great, I’m getting sick. By that night, I was feeling a little feverish. But what I thought was a passing sore throat on my way to rhinovirus land turned into the sore throat from hell. By the next morning, I felt like I was swallowing glass.
Nothing helped, Advil, gargling with salt water, hot liquids, Cepacol, Ricola, zinc lozenges, you name it, I tried it. By noon, I was at urgent care (which is saying a lot for me), positive that I had strep throat. They swabbed me, the culture came back negative.
However, while I was waiting for the results, the doctor came in and we got to chatting. She told me that a few weeks ago, she, too was struck with a sore throat that she sure was strep, but she never swabbed herself to find out. She said eventually her body cleared it and it went away, so she never really knew one way or the other.
I found this very interesting, particularly the part about her body clearing the infection. So I said, you mean to tell me that you don’t necessarily need antibiotics to treat strep?
She said, not in adults. She further went on to say that she would treat me with antibiotics if my culture came back positive, but that’s only because strep is highly contagious and I have three kids. Adults, apparently, aren’t susceptible to the ill effects of strep (Scarlet fever, heart problems) like children are.
I told her that I could have saved myself $50 and about an hours time, if I had just called her and we had this discussion over the phone. (Of course, that wasn’t really an option.) Because, then, I would have known that there are viruses out there that mimic strep, and second, I would have discovered that I didn’t necessarily need treatment for it to go away.
Of course, the dear doctor didn’t leave me high and dry. She sent me home with two doses of a low dosage steroid to eliminate the swelling (which my fear of medicine prevented me from taking), and prescription ibuprofen, scoffing at me for taking only one Advil at a time. A dose, she said, for a fifty pound person. I’m not so sure I’m trusting her on that one, either.
Five days, after my sore throat started, I still have a sore throat. It’s waned a bit in its intensity, but it’s still there. I’m thinking I probably should have taken the steroid.
*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and don’t claim that the doctor I’m paraphrasing knows what the hell she is talking about-some, don’t you know. So, if you think you have strep, don’t take the advice of an English major, go to the doctor for goodness sake!