Miley Cyrus Has Strep Throat!

Teen star/singer Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) has been diagnosed with strep throat. The 17 year old was just two weeks into her Wonder World tour, when she awoke on Tuesday with a sore throat and fatigue. She reportedly had to leave the stage for a brief period of time during her show in Salt Lake City for “medical attention.” As Miley tweeted: “Think I’m gonna take one more nap before the BIG show here in SLC. My throat is yelling at me to SHUT UP. Strep is the worst thing ever.”

“Strep throat” is the common name for streptococcal pharyngitis– a throat infection caused by the bacterium called Group A Streptococcus. Although not every sore throat is caused by strep (most are caused by viruses), strep is the most common bacterial throat infection. It can happen at any age but is most common in children and teenagers. The symptoms of strep throat includes:

  • red and white patches in the throat- especially on the tonsils
  • difficulty  and pain with swallowing
  • tender or swollen glands (lymph nodes) in the neck
  • red and enlarged tonsils
  • headache
  • stomach ache
  • fever (usually over 101 degrees)
  • general discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling
  • loss of appetite and nausea
  • rash- a rough pink rash which starts around the neck and spreads over the body,  more prominent in the creases of the armpits and groin- sometimes called a scarletina rash (see below)

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Strep throat is actually a self-limiting disease, i.e. it will go away on its own, however it is recommended that patients with strep be treated with antibiotics (usually penicillin or ampicillin) for two reasons: to limit the spread of the disease to others, and to prevent complications of strep infections. These complications are not caused by the bacterium itself, but rather by the body’s immune response to the germ. The most common of these complications are rheumatic fever (which can lead to heart disease) and strep glomerulonephritis (inflammation in the kidney).

For more information:

Resounding
Health(tm)
Streptococcal pharygitis

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Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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