Strep throat is the infection of the throat and tonsils by the streptococcus bacteria. Bacterial infections are one of the causes of sore throats and are very common in children and adolescents. The severity of a sore throat depends on the type of streptococcus causing the infection. Moreover, sore throat may be caused by viral infections. Identifying bacterial infections as the cause is very important because without treatment, strep infections may lead to further complications, including rheumatic fever and kidney inflammation. Though the infection is very common between the ages of 5-years-old and 15-years-old, it may affect people of any age.
Symptoms of strep throat begin within four days of the bacterial infection. The symptoms have a rapid onset, often taking the person by surprise.
Some of the most common symptoms of this condition include:
- Reddish and swollen throat
- Pain in the throat
- Pain while swallowing
- Fever with temperature above 101?F
- White patches at the back of throat
Apart from these obvious symptoms, sore throat is also associated with some less common symptoms like:
Viral infections also have symptoms similar to that of strep throat. If a person has symptoms of a cold, including sneezing and running nose, the infection is due to a virus. The manifestation of the disease may differ according to the age of the patient. Children often complain about a difficulty swallowing food and severe sore throat while adolescents will have very high fever and complain about pain in the throat. Adults show very mild symptoms and soreness of the throat also remains mild. In some cases, the symptoms do become severe in adults.
Strep throat is a contagious disease with the bacteria through tiny droplets that escape when the infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. After the initial contact, the person will show the first symptoms within the next two to five days.
One should contact the physician if:
- Lymph nodes are swollen
- Unable to swallow saliva
- Sore throat remains for more than two days
- Rashes appear on the skin
- There is difficulty in breathing
- Color of urine changes after strep infection
- Neck is swollen or reddish
- Throat is bleeding