Sioux City, Iowa (KTIV) -- A local doctor recently discussed the symptoms shared between conditions like influenza and COVID-19. This time, the focus is on another illness that could hit hard during this flu season: strep throat.
Questions: How is strep throat contracted? How can people protect themselves from strep? Is strep season projected to be worse this year?
Dr. Mike Kafka, UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's: First, for some clarification, strep throat is due to some bacteria, streptococcus. It's transmitted the same way other flu and cold viruses, and COVID are transmitted, primarily through droplets that are released when someone who is infected, coughs or sneezes or shouts in your direction, and you happen to be too close, within that five- to six-foot range and you inhale a large enough dose that you establish your own infection. We're hopeful that things will be less active in terms of strep, influenza, and the other kinds of normal cold and flu viruses because of folks doing what they need to do for COVID, wearing masks, social distancing, staying home when ill and doing good hand hygiene and cleaning surfaces where you are.
Questions: We have heard a fever is common with COVID-19. If you get a fever, should you automatically go get tested for COVID-19 or should you wait to see if the fever goes away? How long should someone wait to go to work/school after a fever is broken?
Dr. Mike Kafka: Technically, a fever is present when a person's oral fever is 100.4 or higher, that's in fahrenheit, or if it's 38 degrees centigrade. Temperatures that high indicate there's some sort of an infection going on, either viral or bacterial so I would not typically wait long. I would contact your doctor and talk about any symptoms you may have. Maybe another reason you may be able to identify, but that would make someone very suspect that you may be carrying COVID. In terms of how long someone should wait, when someone has an infection, and has a fever, typically they recommend you be fever free for at least 24 hours, and that's without the use of anything like ibuprofen, Tylenol or aspirin.