What Is Strep Throat?

Q:
What is strep throat?

A:
Strep throat is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation and pain in the throat. The most common culprit is group A Streptococcus bacteria. Strep throat can affect children and adults of all ages. However, it’s especially common among children between the ages of 5 and 15. Sneezing and coughing can spread the infection from one person to another.

Symptoms of strep throat:

The severity of strep throat can vary from person to person. Some people experience mild symptoms like a sore throat, whereas other people have more severe symptoms including fever and difficulty swallowing. The common symptoms of strep throat include:

  • a sudden fever, especially if it’s 101˚F or higher
  • a sore, red throat with white patches
  • a headache
  • chills
  • a loss of appetite
  • swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • trouble swallowing

Time to see the doctor:

As sore throat can result from many diseases, you may want to find out what you or your children are experiencing. If the following signs appear, the possibility of having strep throat is generally greater:

  • a sore throat that lasts longer than two days
  • a sore throat with white patches
  • dark, red splotches or spots on the tonsils or the top of the mouth
  • a sore throat with a fine, sandpaper-like pink rash on the skin
  • difficulty breathing
  • difficulty swallowing.

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