SLOW DOWN: A doctor explains how stress can 'activate' strep throat

December 8, 2020

There’s another reason to try to relax this holiday season – stress from the pandemic could make your more susceptible to strep throat.

Coughing, sneezing, even laughing can spread the virus that causes COVID-19, which is why face masks are so important. But there are bacteria already in the nose and mouth that could cause some serious pain during the winter months.

“The majority of folks have a version of strep within their body at all times,” explained Dr. Matthew Hahn, family medicine physician at Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic.

Stress from the pandemic could make you more susceptible to strep throat, according to Dr. Matthew Hahn, a family medicine physician at Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic. (Image: ABC7 Photo)

Strep throat can be added to the list of illnesses like the flu, common cold, and COVID to round out 2020.

He said unlike COVID, you most likely will not get shortness of breath, a runny nose, or a cough.

The streptococcal bacteria already in your system is probably not making you sick right now. Hahn said stress and a weakened immune system could flip the switch.

“There could be an activation of an existing strep infection in the body,” he said. “The importance of maintaining the strength of your immune system cannot be underestimated.”

Since strep is a type of bacteria, antibiotics can help you feel better in a day or two. If symptoms continue or change, it’s time to call the doctor again. A positive strep test does not mean you’re clear of everything else.

 

Originally published on WJLA.com.

 
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