Content of the material
- What is Strep Throat?
- What causes strep throat?
- Strep throat common symptoms
- When to See a Doctor
- Serious complications are not common but can happen
- Pain and fever without a cough are common signs and symptoms
- Salt Water Gargle
- Further information
- Strep Throat Diagnosis
- Sore Throat Remedies
- Protect Yourself From Strep
What is Strep Throat?
Strep throat is a bacterial infection. Unlike a typical sore throat from a cold, strep throat results in a sudden, severe, painful sore throat that is usually covered in red or white spots at the back of the mouth.
Most people with strep throat have a fever of at least 101ºF.
If you have a cough, runny nose or hoarse voice, your sore throat is much more likely due to a cold or other virus.
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What causes strep throat?
Strep throat is caused by Streptococcus pyogenes, otherwise referred to as group A Streptococcus.
Group A strep is highly contagious and may easily be passed by coughing, sneezing, shared dishes or utensils and other close contacts.
You can also get strep throat by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
Strep throat is a bacterial infection that is typically treated to prevent the complication of rheumatic fever, which can cause heart damage.
Use of antibiotics also may help symptoms go away about 1 day more quickly than they would on their own.
Strep throat common symptoms
The most common symptoms of strep throat are:
- Severe sore throat
- Fever: Many cases of strep throat involve a fever of at least 101ºF.
- Pain when swallowing: Some people describe the throat and swallowing pain of strep throat as being similar to trying to swallow a brick. It isn’t easily resolved by drinking cold or warm beverages.
- Petechiae: Tiny red spots may appear on the palate or back of the throat.
- Swollen tonsils: Along with swelling, the tonsils may appear red or have white patches or pus visible on them.
- Swollen lymph nodes: It is common to have tender, swollen lymph nodes on the sides of your neck or under your jaw.
- No cough: It is uncommon to have a cough or runny nose when you have strep pharyngitis.
When to See a Doctor
If you have a severe sore throat that comes on quickly, especially if you have a fever, contact your doctor.
It could be strep throat, which requires antibiotics to prevent complications.
If you have a sore throat so severe you are having difficulty swallowing, speaking, or breathing, seek urgent medical care.
Strep throat usually gets better in about a week as long as you follow your doctor's orders. Most people who get strep don't have any serious side effects or long-term problems from the illness.
Your provider will let you know when you can go back to your normal activities, like school or work. Follow your doctor's directions even if you start feeling better sooner. This will make sure that you do not spread the infection to other people or push yourself too much before you're fully recovered.
If you are sticking to your treatment plan but don't feel better or you start to feel sicker, tell your doctor right away. You might need a different treatment to make sure the infection clears up and prevent complications.
Your doctor will give you a treatment plan for strep throat. If you follow it, you should feel better in about a week. If you are not feeling better or feel worse, tell your doctor right away. You might need a different treatment.Can You Get Scarlet Fever After You Have Strep Throat?
Serious complications are not common but can happen
Complications can occur after a strep throat infection. This can happen if the bacteria spread to other parts of the body. Complications can include:
- Abscesses (pockets of pus) around the tonsils or in the neck
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Sinus infections
- Ear infections
- Rheumatic fever (a heart disease)
- Post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis (a kidney disease)
Pain and fever without a cough are common signs and symptoms
In general, strep throat is a mild infection, but it can be very painful. The most common symptoms of strep throat include:
- Sore throat that can start very quickly
- Pain when swallowing
- Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus
- Tiny, red spots (petechiae — pronounced pi-TEE-kee-eye) on the roof of the mouth (the soft or hard palate)
- Swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck
Other symptoms may include a headache, stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting — especially in children. Someone with strep throat may also have a rash; when this happens it is known as scarlet fever (scarlatina).
The following symptoms suggest a virus is the cause of the illness instead of strep throat:
- Runny nose
- Hoarseness (changes in your voice that make it sound breathy, raspy, or strained)
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
Salt Water Gargle
Help your body create an inhospitable environment in your throat by gargling with salt water. The salt helps to break up mucus and reduce the swelling of delicate tissues by reducing water retention. Add one teaspoon of sea salt to an 8 oz glass of warm water and gargle for one to two minutes and then spit out.
If you aren’t afraid of having garlic breath for a few days, go ahead and give your body and throat the extra infection fighting power it needs by mixing some raw garlic in honey to make a paste, then slowly swallowing one teaspoon every three or four hours.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Strep Throat Diagnosis
See your doctor if you have had a sore throat for longer than two days or it is very painful or you can see white patches or pus on the back of your throat. Other reasons to see your doctor include a fine sandpaper-like pink rash on your skin or difficulty breathing or swallowing.
Your doctor will examine your neck and lymph nodes and may take a swab of your throat if Strep throat is suspected.
Sore Throat Remedies
If you have a sore throat there are many things you can do to relieve it. According to Royal Queen Seeds, it’s best to let your throat heal before smoking again.
However, in the meantime, Healthline suggests:
- Gargling with warm saltwater
- Taking over the counter medication such as acetaminophen
- Drinking warm liquids like tea or soup to soothe the throat
- Eating something cold like a popsicle to cool your throat
- Using a humidifier to add moist air to the room
If you’re experiencing symptoms such as high fever, a sore throat for more than a week, or a really severe sore throat, seek professional medical care.
Protect Yourself From Strep
Protect yourself from a strep infection by reducing exposure to germs.
- Make sure that you wash your hands frequently, especially if you’ve been in contact with someone who’s infected.
- If someone in your family is sick, keep their utensils separate and wash them with hot water and soap.
- If your toddler has strep throat, make sure you properly disinfect toys that they might have been chewing on.20