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Bellin Health expert: strep throat rising locally

Sarah Miller, a nurse practitioner, said the uptick is higher than what she and her colleagues have normally seen
Bellin Hospital
Posted at 7:39 AM, May 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-02 08:49:01-04

BELLEVUE (NBC 26) — If you've recently had strep throat, you're not alone.

Experts say they're seeing more cases than usual.

Bellin Health nurse practitioner Sarah Miller said she believes the rise in strep is related to the pandemic, because when restrictions were in place, people didn't deal with as many illnesses.

But now that most individuals are back to living a normal lifestyle, other infections have increased.

This year, Miller said it's strep throat. She said she and her colleagues have seen more cases of strep in the last few months than what they've normally seen.

"We've seen kids coming back for second, third, fourth infections within the same cold and flu season," Miller said. "So, the past three months, we have definitely seen far more cases of strep than I have seen in my professional practice over the past few years even."

Miller said she's seeing cases in adults, grandparents, and even people without tonsils.

Strep is required to be treated with antibiotics, which Miller said kicks in after about 48 hours.

But back in early winter, Miller said there were issues with patients getting their antibiotics.

"There was manufacturer shortages, which affected supply chains, and not necessarily the increase in need," Miller said. "It's just, you couple the increase in need with the shortage of supply, it did create issues with patients getting their medications. But a lot of it stemmed from the supply chain."

Miller said over the past couple months, however, they haven't had issues prescribing patients with antibiotics.

Home remedies to treat strep include, according to Miller:

  • Ibuprofen or Tylenol
  • Warm salt water gargles
  • Tea with honey
  • Cough drops or throat lozenges
  • Fluids
  • Rest

As for kids, Miller said colder and softer foods — such as ice cream, popsicles, and pudding — will help to treat strep.