Illinois issues warning as dangerous strep throat cases rise

Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 4:03 AM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - The Illinois Department of Public Health has issued a warning that cases of strep throat are on the rise, as they are seeing more cases than usual within the first three months of this year.

Dr. Precious Ofodile of SIU Family Medicine said normally around this time of year they would see cases of flu or colds. She said they are seeing more cases of strep throat, especially in those age 40 to 60. She said a sore throat is one sign of a strep infection, but there are some symptoms to be aware of.

“If they’re having more like fever that’s above 104 degrees Fahrenheit,” she said. “The other thing would be, if you notice your child is starting to have like a bluish discoloration around their face, if they are getting shortness of breath, those would be symptoms to kind of be on the lookout for.”

Ofodile said chest pains are another sign as well. She said the symptoms can be similar to cold, flu, or other respiratory diseases, but if you are coughing or have a runny nose you don’t have strep throat. She said it’s important to do some at-home remedies like drinking tea or honey and rest to wait to see if symptoms worsen before going into the hospital, as it could expose you to germs and worsen your condition.

She said it’s important to go in before symptoms worsen, as not doing so can cause long term consequences.

“If you’re starting to get short of breath and you are not having any symptoms, any baseline conditions that would make you be short of breath, normally that would be point when you start to, you know, want to call your healthcare office or go to a walk in clinic,” Ofodile said.

IDPH officials said invasive Group A strep, the result of disease spreading from the throat to blood, muscle and lungs, are the cases leading to severe complications. It is unknown whether those cases are happening locally.

Ofodile said the best way to prevent yourself for getting strep throat is to wash your hands for 20 seconds and practice good hand hygiene.

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