Know the basics
What is strep throat?
Strep throat is a sore throat that’s caused by infection with Streptococcus bacteria. Symptoms are usually worse than those for viral throat infections. Untreated strep throat can cause complications such as rheumatic fever.
How common is strep throat?
Strep throat is most common between the ages of 5 and 15, but it affects people of all ages. You can minimized the chance of having hernias by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
Know the symptoms
What are the symptoms of strep throat?
Symptoms appear about 2 to 5 days after coming in contact with the strep germ. Symptoms may include:
- Throat pain or difficulty swallowing
- Loss of appetite and sometimes nausea,
- Muscle pain and joint stiffness
- Tonsils can get red and swollen and have white patches or streaks of pus. Tiny red spots can appear on the roof of the mouth.
- Lymph glands in the neck can be swollen and tender.
There may be some signs or symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
Call your doctor if you or your child has any of these signs and symptoms:
- A sore throat accompanied by tender, swollen lymph glands (nodes)
- A sore throat that lasts longer than 48 hours
- A fever higher than 38.3 degree Celcius in older children, or any fever lasting longer than 48 hours
- A sore throat accompanied by a rash
- Problems breathing or difficulty swallowing anything, including saliva
- A fever — or pain or swelling in the joints, shortness of breath or a rash
- Cola-colored urine more than a week after a strep infection
Know the causes
What causes strep throat?
Strep throat is caused by infection with bacteria named Streptococcus pyogenes, or Group A streptococcus. The infection is very contagious and spreads by following main way:
- Breathing in airborne droplets when someone with the infection coughs or sneezes.
- Sharing food or drinks
- Touching contaminated doorknobs or other surfaces and then the nose or mouth can also pass along the infection.
Know the risk factors
What increases my risk for strep throat?
Certain factors may increase your risk of developing strep throat:
- Age: between the ages of 5 and 15.
- Time of year. Although strep throat can occur anytime of the year, it tends to circulate in late fall and early spring.
- Week immune system
Understand the diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is strep throat diagnosed?
Diagnosis is made from symptoms, a physical examination, and laboratory tests. Besides, the doctor may order other tests include:
- Throat culture: to search for the presence of bacteria.
- Rapid antigen test. Because of lack of availability or the waiting period for a throat culture, your doctor may order a rapid antigen test on the swab sample
How is strep throat treated?
Treatment involves antibiotics, which shorten the time people are contagious. Penicillin V, taken by mouth, is the treatment of choice. Children can take the better-tasting amoxicillin suspension. People who are allergic to penicillin can take a cephalosporin such as cephalexin or a macrolide such as erythromycin or azithromycin. Medicines (ibuprofen, acetaminophen) can help throat pain and fever. Young children and teenagers shouldn’t take aspirin because of the risk of developing the dangerous Reye’s syndrome. Getting rest, drinking lots of water, eating soothing foods, gargling with warm salt water, using a humidifier, and avoiding irritants such as cigarette smoke can help people feel better.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage strep throat?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with strep throat :
- Remember that frequent hand-washing is the best way to limit spreading infections.
- Finish all your prescribed antibiotics. Don’t stop taking them unless your health care provider tells you to.
- Avoid contact with someone with a strep throat. Don’t share personal items such as drinking glasses.
- Eat soothing foods such as soups, cooked cereal, mashed potatoes, and yogurt. Very cold foods such as sherbet or frozen yogurt also may be soothing.
- Don’t give young children and teenagers aspirin. They could get the dangerous Reye’s syndrome.
- Don’t sneeze or cough on others if you’re sick. Cover your mouth, and teach children to cover their mouths. If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Ferri, Fred. Ferri’s Netter Patient Advisor. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders / Elsevier, 2012. Download version.
Strep Throat http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/strep-throat/basics/definition/con-20022811. Accessed October 2, 2015.
Strep Throat https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000639.htm. Accessed October 2, 2015.
Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017