So , a New Year begins , but rather than hit the ground running I've hit it with a thud.We had guests for the first Christmas since COVID and one of them had a nasty cough. My OH came down with symptoms a week ago and then I began to feel the tell tale signs a few days ago.
So , we contacted the GP today requesting a rapid test , as you can get a PCR for Strep.
They did not have them , but what we did discover , which will also be helpful to you forum folks , is that you can arrange an appointment at a local chemist that keeps in PCR tests , and if you are positive , they can give you the course of antibiotics from there without needing to go back to the doctor.
Handy information, as most of us are understandably resistant about going to the surgery or A and E because of the long waits and chance of catching something else.
So , test done , we are both positive. The antibiotics are only likely to reduce the time with strep by a few days , but they are important to take to reduce the possibility of the strep causing you to develop something nastier like Scarlet Fever , Rheumatic Fever, Reactive Arthritis or Kidney Function problems.
So what is the difference between Strep and Flu or a cold.
The symptoms are rapid onset pain and swelling in the throat .
Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck that are tender to touch and larger than usual with a flu.
You can get a red rash on your palette , red inflamed throat , or pus spots of white on your tonsils but this isn't always the case.
You may have a cough but it is more because of irritation , and it doesn't produce any mucus ( phlegm) unless you are really unlucky and have another infection as well.
All over body pain , particularly in the joints , which may feel swollen and hot, this will feel slightly different to the usual Fibro pain and is called Arthralgia, although the Fibro will flare too!
Intermittent fever , chills or sweating , but not necessarily a high temperature on testing.
Headache or Migraine pain
Lower abdominal pain and loss of appetite with no diarrhea
Nausea without vomiting
Extreme Fatigue , I've thankfully slept about 20 hours a day for the last two days , I couldn't stay awake , unusual for an insomniac whom usually only manages 3 hours a day.
Strep , like COVID , can be caught by droplets in the air from a contagious person coughing or sneezing , or from droplets hitting surfaces which you may touch and then transfer to your nose or mouth.
Of course , it has caused a flare in all my conditions . Fibro pain and electric shocks through the arms and legs. My Ehlers Danlos Syndrome gives me the nasty added bonus of subluxations of the ribs when I do cough . My Dysautonomia is in overdrive with tachycardia increasing despite the rest , no temperature control and dizziness whenever I move.
What a lovely start to 2023!
But at least I might have been able to help some of you find a safer way to a diagnosis via your local pharmacy rather than running the gauntlet at the Emergency Department, or being left for days waiting to speak to a GP.
Take care all , and remember, it's not all COVID , if any of your friends or family have symptoms of Cold or Flu it's better to use masks and social distancing or put off those visits until another time , no matter how much you miss them.
The photo was taken at sunrise last year on January 1st at my favourite local beach