Dating a strep carrier?
December 7, 2012 9:04 AM   Subscribe

So I made out with a gentleman who in idle conversation mentioned that he deals with "chronic throat infections". Roughly 24 hours later I have started coming down with a sore throat which I suspect might be strep.

Could he be a strep carrier? What does this mean for future making out, and how do I talk to him about it? We've only recently met. Or am I just being crazy and this is just coincidence?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (15 answers total)
Couldn't you go to the clinic and get diagnosed first? Strep can be treated with antibiotics, and if you don't treat it with antibiotics it can get pretty nasty. If it's not strep, at least you will have peace of mind.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:20 AM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]

He could also have chlamydia or gonorrhea of the throat (like strep, both easily cured with a round of antibiotics).
posted by amaire at 9:21 AM on December 7, 2012 [8 favorites]

Chronic throat infections could be lots of things. I used to have a very sensitive throat and was prone to infections (for ex, when getting my wisdom teeth out he bumped one of my tonsils and it swelled up and I could neither chew or swallow for 3 days...), and have signs of having had strep in the past. To my knowledge, none of the guys I have made out with have gotten ill from me. If you're concerned about what this is, definitely go see a doctor. (And as a note, my throat has gotten a lot less sensitive in the past few years... no idea why.)
posted by DoubleLune at 9:25 AM on December 7, 2012

This is definitely a stop by your doctor/Urgent-Care-Facility in the next few days thing, when you mention your patient history they will probably be quite interested in taking a throat culture and doing some in office ELIZAs.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:33 AM on December 7, 2012

That seems rather soon after exposure to start showing symptoms, but I'm not anything resembling a doctor. I'd expect you wouldn't get an actual sore throat until 2-3 days after exposure.
posted by blue t-shirt at 9:39 AM on December 7, 2012

If he's an expert on throat infections, then why don't you bring it up with him? He's probably the best person to ask about this (minus a doctor). Besides, you shouldn't be keeping from him that you're sick, especially if you intend to make out with him again. Might as well be open with him and tell him that you got a sore throat. You can even joke about the coincidence.

Also, I think it usually takes more than 24 hours to really feel the symptoms of strep throat or colds after the initial exposure. How often do you get strep? For you to assume so quickly that you have strep, and that you could identify the symptoms of strep immediately, makes me believe that you either 1) get strep throat on a regular basis (at least once a year), or 2) that you are over-analyzing this and just have a regular sore throat.

If you get strep frequently, then this is probably just a coincidence.
posted by nikkorizz at 9:45 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Before you go to the doctor, please ask your friend what he meant by chronic throat infections. Yes, you can go to your doctor and get a rapid strep test (these are not 100% accurate), but a culture takes days to come back, and you might be treated with unnecessary antibiotics if you are being treated for some presumptive diagnosis based on speculation about what your gentleman friend might have had.

Also I would like to just mildly point out that treating strep throat with antibiotics, on a global basis, is actually a controversial issue. Yes, there are potential complications from strep, but they are very rare, and there are potential complications from using a lot of antibiotics on people too. Some have estimated that we will end up killing/harming more people with antibiotics by treating strep than we will prevent from developing complications from it with the treatment (not to mention all the money spent on testing and treating it). This is why many European guidelines do not recommend antibiotics for strep, although American guidelines tend to do so. I mention this because people saying "it might be strep! Get to a doctor ASAP!" is one of my pet peeves.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 10:16 AM on December 7, 2012 [5 favorites]

24 hours is too soon to be showing symptoms from most things. It's likely either because you're worried about it or a cold you caught before the make out session which is showing up now.
posted by Justinian at 10:38 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

24 hours is the minimum incubation period for strep (for example), so it's possible OP could be showing signs of a sore throat.
posted by DoubleLune at 10:43 AM on December 7, 2012

The OP would likely have mentioned the whole fever, red eyes, runny nose, etc stuff that comes with strep though.
posted by Justinian at 11:01 AM on December 7, 2012

There's a sore throat and respiratory thing going around NYC at least, like wildfire.

Who works specifically around throat infections other than a doctor!
posted by spitbull at 11:50 AM on December 7, 2012

Unfortunately medicine is not always a black and white thing, and the fact that the only symptom is a sore throat does not rule out strep. There's something called a Centor score that can be used to gauge the likelihood of strep pharyngitis.

Just the fact that the OP is presumably age 15-44, has a sore throat, and doesn't have a cough (that he/she mentioned) gives him/her a 5-10% chance of having strep (note that this is not enough of a risk to justify testing or antibiotics, according to this protocol).
posted by treehorn+bunny at 12:31 PM on December 7, 2012

I'm not sure if you caught what you have now from him, but I'd be reluctant to make out with someone who mentions that they have a chronic, possibly contagious throat infections.

Although you don't know whether his infections are strep, if he has tonsils that have cavitations, it's possible to have chronic strep infections that respond poorly to antibiotics.

If it were me, I'd get a swab just to make sure. Tell your Dr./Nurse what you told us.
posted by quince at 3:37 PM on December 7, 2012

You seem fairly worked up about this as if it's an STD or something...I mean, if it is strep throat or a cold or something...well, it sucks to get sick, but it doesn't seem like a super awkward issue to discuss or anything. Just go to the doctor's and ask their advice, and report back to the dude if the doc recommends it? Don't see why it would affect future making out...strep is not a virus that is incurable or will stick around forever...
posted by rainbowbrite at 5:22 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

The seasons are changing, and you have a tickle in your throat. It's really too soon to say that you're sick, nevermind what caused the illness. Stay hydrated, and keep your throat warm. If you feel worse in the next few days, then see your doctor or a clinic and get a diagnosis.

Talk to your guy with chronic throat infections about what that means exactly -- does he have an immunodeficiency? has he sought treatment? does he smoke? is he just exaggerating in idle conversation?
posted by Dr. Regardless at 6:16 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

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