Although there are many different ways we could get sick, strep throat is one that people tend to dread if they ever had it before.
Once you start experiencing that scratchy, achy feeling in your throat, the tonsil stones and the persistent cough, it just combines to make the most unpleasant symptoms of almost any similar infection.
Some people tend to get strep throat regularly but others may only have it once or twice in their life. Although you wouldn’t wish it on anyone, having it certainly can raise your awareness about the misery it causes.
Strep throat is seen by some as an extreme nuisance but it can also be a deadly problem. One mother experienced something unusual with her son and she hopes his story will spread awareness.
Corie Entrop from Canada was shocked when Connor, her son came home from school pulling out his hair. He continued to display that unusual behavior for a number of weeks and even started pulling the fur out of the family dog.
She talked to her 10-year-old son about why he was doing it and he couldn’t put his finger on it. He just felt that it was the right thing to do.
“It became a constant obsession to the point where he was giving himself bald spots all over his head,” Entrop told local news outlet, CTVNews. “We had to shave his head to keep him from doing it.”
Things didn’t get better in the following weeks. Connor began to experience anxiety attacks and he was acting out in school. They chalked it up to being ADHD and he had been diagnosed with it years prior.
An antipsychotic medication was prescribed and it helped to a certain extent. For the next year, however, Connor continues to exhibit bizarre behavior.
Suddenly, everything seemed to fall apart.
Connor was so sick by the time the end of the year came around that he was rushed to the hospital and given antibiotics. He started to act out even more at school and it became very concerning.
Connor begin to stab himself with a pencil in the arm, hide inside lockers, refused to answer questions, flip over desk and disrupt the class by running around. It turns out, however, that wasn’t the worst of it.
“He would try to jump out of moving vehicles when I was driving. He was threatening suicide a lot. He would barricade himself into his room and string stuff around his neck trying to choke himself out,” the mother recalled.
They decided they would place him in a specialized program for children who are struggling with these issues because of his medical condition. He finally received the help that made a difference.
By this time, Connor was 12 years old and he was diagnosed with a rare disorder, Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS).
PANDAS typically takes place in children who have strep throat. A paper that was published on the rare disorder in the American Journal of Psychiatry says that PANDAS triggers “a misdirected immune response” and eventually can lead to brain swelling.
The antibodies produced by the child begin to attack the basal ganglia in the brain. That part of the brain is responsible for motor function and emotion.
Connor is now starting to recover, thanks to the diagnosis and his mother is hoping more people find out about the disorder.
“It’s like having my old kids back,” she said but she also said she’s worried about him getting the infection again.
“We have to be really cautious about not getting him exposed to strep and that’s scary because it’s hard to control that. A strep [infection] for him can result in a psychiatric illness and an episode for him.”