Strep throat is a type of sore throat that is more common in children vs adults. Healthcare professionals can do a quick test to determine if a sore throat is strep throat and decide if antibiotics are needed. Proper treatment can help you feel better faster and prevent spreading it to others!
Many things can cause that unpleasant, scratchy, and sometimes painful condition known as a sore throat. Viruses, bacteria, allergens, environmental irritants (such as cigarette smoke), chronic postnasal drip, and fungi can all cause a sore throat. While many sore throats will get better without treatment, some throat infections—include strep throat—may need antibiotic treatment.
How You Get Strep Throat
Strep throat is an infection in the throat and tonsils caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria (called group A strep). Group A strep bacteria can also live in a person’s nose and throat without causing illness. The bacteria are spread through contact with droplets after an infected person coughs or sneezes. If you touch your mouth, nose, or eyes after touching something that has these droplets on it, you may become ill. It is also possible to get strep throat from contact with sores from group A strep skin infections. A fever is a common symptom of strep throat.
Common Symptoms of Strep Throat:
The most common symptoms of strep throat include:
- Sore throat, usually starts quickly and can cause severe pain when swallowing
- A fever (101 F or above)
- Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus
- Tiny red spots (petechiae) on the area at the back of the roof of the mouth (the soft or hard palate)
- Headache, nausea, or vomiting
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Body aches or rash
A Simple Test Gives Fast Results
Healthcare professionals can test for strep by swabbing the throat to quickly see if group A strep bacteria are causing a sore throat. A strep test is needed to tell if you have strep throat; just looking at your throat is not enough to make a diagnosis. If the test is positive, your healthcare professional can prescribe antibiotics. If the strep test is negative, but your clinician still strongly suspects you have this infection, then they can take a throat culture swab to test for the bacteria. Antibiotics reduce the length of time you’re sick and reduce your symptoms.
Whether it’s you or your child with strep throat, it’s important to take all of the medicine, as prescribed; otherwise, the infection can return. People with strep throat can spread the strep bacteria to others until they’ve taken the prescribed antibiotics for 24 hours. Don’t return to work, or allow your child to return to school until after the 24-hour period has passed.
We at Haven Elite can provide a rapid strep test and give you the antibiotics prescribed if available in our in-house pharmacy.