Faster strep throat option to consider

Penicillin shot can clear infection in 8 hours, but its painful and expensive

By Joy Purdy - 5:30, 6:30 & 11 p.m. anchor, Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - If you've ever had strep throat, you know the common and highly contagious infection can put you out of commission for a week.

Usually the only option is taking antibiotic pills and waiting to get better.

There's another option that's been around since the 1950s that can get rid of strep throat in just eight hours.

It worked for 10-year-old Bryce Williams last month. His mother, Jessica, says both her boys were getting strep throat all the time.

This time, though, was so bad for Bryce that instead of the usual antibiotics taken for 10 days in pill form, Bryce was given a very painful shot.

Jessica Williams remembers the horrible experience at the hospital as though it were yesterday.

"They told me when they came in and had four people," she recounts, "I was like, 'what are we doing here?' and they said, 'We're going to have to hold him down. He screamed and screamed ... and it was just awful... It was awful."

Incredibly, Bryce's results were almost immediate.

The shot of Bicillin, an injectable form of penicillin, is an option many people don't know about until they find themselves in a hospital emergency room like Bryce.

"Day and night, I was throwing up, throwing up, Throwing up," Bryce tells us as he winces, remembering his bout with strep throat.

Dr. Tracy Tyson with Orange Park Pediatrics says when a patient is continuously vomiting, pills are useless.

Tyson explained that this single shot clears up strep in just 8 hours, but there are some restrictions for doctors when administering the shot.

Tyson says the shot cannot be used if the patient has a penicillin allergy.

"The extremely painful shot is actually a powder that gets mixed into a really thick solution that has to be injected into the muscle," Tyson tells us.

"When you give an injection of penicillin, you can't stop it. It's in your system. So if you do have an allergic reaction, you can treat it by giving the patient other medication."

Dr. Tyson says, ultimately you have to wait for the medicine to "burn out of your system over several days," unlike oral antibiotics which burn off and need to be readministered twice a day.

Once the shot was injected into Bryce's thigh, Jessica Williams says she was stunned to learn there was no follow up doctor's visit necessary.

"'This is it, you're done,' they told me," Jessica says, still shaking her head in disbelief. "I didn't believe them until a couple hours later when he was fine. I mean, it was like he had never been sick."

The shot is more expensive than the pill form of antibiotics; insurance doesn't always cover the shot.

However, another major benefit of the shot; Dr. Traci Bragg with Baptist Health explains the shot is fighting infection in a patient's body for 21 to 28 days.

She say, while usually only administered to patients experiencing extreme health issues associated with strep throat, the shot also means a month-long break for parents and kids from the even the common cold.

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