There is no vaccine to prevent strep throat. This means the best protection is prevention and that includes ensuring that you do everything you can to avoid contact with Group A Streptococcus (GAS) bacteria, specifically Streptococcus pyogenes. That’s the bacterium that causes strep throat.
Read: What is Strep Throat?
If you are diagnosed with strep throat, it’s up to you to do your part to help ensure you don’t spread the infection to others. We’ve included five tips to help avoid strep throat.
1. Wash Your Hands Often
Good hand-washing practices will help you avoid strep and plenty of other infectious viruses. Every day your hands touch doorknobs, computer keyboards and mice, phones, car keys, countertops, shopping carts and more. That’s natural and normal. Simply remember that if you’re touching all of these items on a regular basis, it’s possible that someone who has strep throat, a cold virus or many other viruses that can make you sick is also touching those items daily.
We’re not recommending you become a germaphobe who is afraid to go outside or touch common items. Just use your good sense and wash your hands regularly throughout the day.
For instance, it’s a good practice to wash your hands whenever you return home from the grocery store since shopping carts regularly test for high levels for everything from fecal bacteria to E. Coli. Hand sanitizer is also a good idea to use to quickly disinfect your hands.
2. Avoid Touching Your Eyes or Mouth with Your Hands
Tip number two naturally follows tip number one for good reason. If your hands come into contact with infectious viruses, the last thing you want to do is touch your eyes, mouth or nose with dirty hands. That’s because your eyes, nose and mouth are often an ideal gateway for a virus to enter your immune system. Washing your hands often and ensuring you don’t rub your eyes or place fingers in your mouth is a great way to prevent strep throat and other infections from making you sick.
3. Don’t Share Food, Drinks or Towels with a Sick Person
This one is a no-brainer; if someone is sick, don’t take a bite of their food or drink from their cup. While that logic makes perfect sense, you would be surprised how many people share food or utensils with someone who has already been diagnosed with strep throat or exhibits strep throat symptoms.
The same advice applies to clothes, towels and pillowcases. If someone is sick, you want to avoid or minimize exposure to any item where his or her saliva or mucus may be lying in wait. Obviously, treat someone suffering with respect but be smart about how you demonstrate that respect or risk catching strep throat yourself, which isn’t particularly helpful to anyone.
4. Cover Your Nose and Mouth Whenever You Cough or Sneeze
This tip applies to people whether or not they have an infectious virus. It’s simply polite to shield those around you from potentially infectious airborne droplets.
If you have strep throat, don’t forget to wash your hands after every sneeze and cough, too. Preventing the airborne droplets from spreading doesn’t do much good if you immediately follow a sneeze by touching a doorknob or pushing a shopping cart with dirty hands. You’re making it easy for the virus to spread to others if you don’t exercise some diligence and self-control.
5. Get Enough Rest and Eat Healthy Foods
People today rarely get enough sleep. Unfortunately, overwork and stress can weaken your body’s immune system and make it difficult to fight viral infections. When your immune system is weak, strep throat has an easier time taking up residence within your body and making you sick.
If you want to prevent strep throat, do your best to keep regular eating and sleeping habits—particularly in the winter months when strep infections increase. You’ll feel better overall and avoid the pain and hassle of a strep throat infection.
Contact the Ear, Nose and Throat Center
Strep throat can become a serious condition. Our Ear, Nose and Throat doctors in Salt Lake City, Draper and Park City, Utah can diagnose and treat strep throat. Call 801-328-2522 to set an appointment with our our Utah ear, nose and throat doctors.