Strep throat is a bacterial infection characterized by a sore or scratchy throat and is caused by group A streptococcus bacteria. Strep throat can spread easily from person to person and lives in the nose and throat area. This bacterial infection can cause rheumatic fever if left untreated, which may lead to further complications. Strep throat can be easily diagnosed within minutes with a simple throat swab.
Strep throat is caused by Streptococcus A bacteria and is more common in children than it is in adults. People who are in close contact with someone who has strep throat are at greater risk of developing infection. Strep throat tends to spread more in winter and spring months and can be spread through droplets in the air, especially when someone with strep throat coughs or sneezes. Strep throat can also spread on hard surfaces.
Symptoms of strep throat include:
Pain with swallowing
Swollen cervical lymph nodes
Red, swollen tonsils sometimes with white spots or streaks
Red spots on the roof of the mouth
Nausea and vomiting (more in younger children)
Loss of appetite
Strep throat is typically treated with antibiotics such as penicillin and amoxicillin. It is also important to drink plenty of fluids that are soothing to the throat and to take over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to treat symptoms of strep throat. When taking antibiotics, it is important to continue taking the medication for the full amount of time prescribed even if you feel better unless your doctor tells you to stop.
The best way to prevent strep throat is by practicing good hygiene and washing your hands often. It is always a good idea to cover your mouth with your elbow when you cough or sneeze and to use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, January 12). Strep throat: All you need to know. https://www.cdc.gov/groupastrep/diseases-public/strep-throat.html.
Cleveland Clinic. (2019, September 18). Strep throat. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4602-strep-throat#outlook--prognosis.
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020, December 17). Strep throat. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/strep-throat/symptoms-causes/syc-20350338.