By Randall Barnes
Flu and strep throat both find their element in February, and, according to the CDC, 2020 is projected to be a particularly brutal season. Indeed, the CDC reports that, in the 2019-2020 season so far, 8,200 deaths—54 of them children—have been attributed to the flu. While strep throat has not killed nearly as many, complications from it can be quite severe, such as: Rheumatic fever, Glomerulonephritis, Otitis media, Meningitis, Pneumonia, and several others.
One should know the symptoms of both. The symptoms of the flu include: fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, congestion, runny nose, headaches, and fatigue. These are common for many illnesses, so, if possible, see a doctor if you are experiencing any of these.
The symptoms of strep throat include: sore throat, fever, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck, and, though rare, complications of the heart or kidneys. Strep throat is harder to diagnose than flu, so see a doctor for confirmation. Strep throat often causes swelling near the tonsils, leaving white spots on them or the tongue.
The best way to prevent the flu is to get the vaccine. Another way is, of course, to avoid contact with those who are or at least appear or to be sick, at least three feet away, although much further is advised. Cleaning your hands is an easy and very effective, yet underutilized, method of prevention. Do not only wash your hands after using the bathroom, but in other instances or situations as well. The former method is not bulletproof, thus avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Unlike the flu, strep throat does not have a vaccine, but is still highly contagious, and therefore requires one to rely solely on other measures performed ad nauseam. Staying from others that are or appear sick is always a good tactic for prevention. Cleaning one’s hands is yet another, almost universal, method. If one does contract strep throat, there are antibiotics to assist, but they should be prescribed first.