Healthy Living

Strep Throat: Signs and Symptoms

Strep Throat: Signs and Symptoms

Key Takeaways

  • Strep throat is particularly common among young children. 
  • Definitive symptoms of strep throat are red and swollen tonsils and throat, white patches on the tonsils and throat, and swollen and tender lymph nodes.
  • Penicillin is the only antibiotic that best works against a streptococcal infection. 

Strep throat is particularly common among children, and can be easily recognized from its symptoms. However, some of the symptoms of strep throat are often confused with those of the flu, therefore, it is important to figure out if your child is infected.

Common signs and symptoms of strep throat

SignsofStrepThroat

As you can see, these symptoms are not enough to differentiate strep throat from the cold or flu viruses. These symptoms, on the other hand, are more indicative of strep throat:

Definitive symptoms of strep throat

  • Red, swollen tonsils and throat – ask your child to stick out their tongue so you can see down their throat. The normal throat opening should be wide and unobstructed, but the infection causes the throat to become inflamed and swollen. The throat and tonsils will also become red more than usual.
  • Strawberry tongue – the taste buds on the tongue will also become inflamed and red, especially around the back of the tongue. The tongue will seem rougher and appear to have small red spots that thicken toward the throat.
  • White patches on tonsils and throat – this is the most definitive sign of an infection, white patches of pus both on the tonsils and the throat. Because the tonsils and throat will already be red than usual, these white patches or strings will be more pronounced. They indicate that there indeed is an infection around that region.
  • Swollen and tender lymph nodes – lymph nodes are round bulbous organs that can be felt underneath the jaw around the neck. These lymph nodes will become inflamed when there is an infection as well as tender. Chances are your child will complain of pain or twitch when you try to touch this area.
  • Rash and neck pain – these symptoms are not always present due to an infection, but when they do present indicate the presence of an infection. The rash will often occur close to the jaw line and around the throat, also becoming tender. Your child may also experience some pain when moving their head, which would also indicate an infection in the throat area.
  • Abdominal pain – you will rarely get this symptom at the early stages since the infection is more localized around the throat, but it will instead be experienced if the other symptoms are ignored. The streptococcal bacteria which cause strep throat usually affect the throat, but they can also spread to other parts of the body and infect other organs.

Prevention of strep throat

To avoid these nasty symptoms, there are a couple tips to keep in mind:

  • Wash your hands often: you never know when you touch an infected surface, nor can you control when you touch your mouth or nose, but by keeping your hands clean, you can avoid infecting yourself with the bacteria
  • Protect others: in case your child has strep throat, do not allow them to interact with other children. Remember, they may infect others and the infection makes its way back to them
  • Identify carriers: carriers will often spread the infection but not show any symptoms. Spot the carrier in the group and make sure they are properly treated