Strep throat : Know About Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Any bacterial infection that makes your throat feel sore and scratchy is termed as Strep throat. This is only accountable for a smaller range of sore throats. Strep throat can cause complications, like kidney inflammation or rheumatic fever, if left untreated. Painful and inflamed joints, a specific type of rash, or heart valve damage can […]

Any bacterial infection that makes your throat feel sore and scratchy is termed as Strep throat. This is only accountable for a smaller range of sore throats.

Strep throat can cause complications, like kidney inflammation or rheumatic fever, if left untreated. Painful and inflamed joints, a specific type of rash, or heart valve damage can be led by Rheumatic fever.

Strep throat is most common in babies, but it hits people of all ages. If you or your child has strep symptoms or signs, discuss with your doctor for prompt testing and medication.

Strep throat Symptoms and strep throat signs

Strep throat symptoms and signs can include:

  • Throat pain that usually occurs quickly
  • Painful swallowing

strep throat tonsils/ throat redness in Strep A infection

  • Throat redness and swelling is due to inflammation of tonsils
  • Sometimes the strep throat tonsils are covered with white patches or streaks of pus
  • Strep throat tonsils cause difficulty in swallowing due to swelling and pain in tonsils

Other symptoms include

  • Small red spots on the area at the roof of the mouth (soft or hard palate)
  • Swollen, tender lymph nodes in your neck
  • Fever, Headache, and Rash
  • Nausea or vomiting, especially in younger children
  • Body aches

It’s feasible for you or your child to have many of these signs and symptoms but not have strep throat. The cause of throat redness and inflammation could be a viral infection or some other illness. That’s why your surgeon generally tests specifically for strep throat problems.

It’s also possible for you to be exposed to a person who catches strep but has no symptoms.

When do I call to Doctor? Call your doctor if you or your kid has any of these strep throat signs:

  • A sore throat with tender, swollen lymph glands
  • A sore throat that lasts more than 48 hours
  • A high-grade fever
  • A sore throat accompanied by a rash
  • Breathing or swallowing problems
  • If you have diagnosed a strep throat and there is no improvement after taking antibiotics for 48 hours

Scarlet fever symptoms

Scarlet fever is also caused by the same causative as that of strep throat that is strep A. Among the symptoms of scarlet fever, the condition of throat is the same as that in strep throat. However scarlet fever symptoms additionally include

  • red rash, that begins on the face and neck. Then spreads to trunk, arms, legs.
  • red lines on armpits, groin, elbow, knees, neck
  • flushing of the face with a pale ring surrounding the mouth
  • strawberry tongue, the red and bumpy tongue having white coating

Strep throat causes

It is caused by streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. It also infects

  • Tonsils
  • Sinuses
  • Skin
  • Blood
  • Middle ear

Is strep throat contagious?

The cause of strep throat is the bacteria known as group A streptococcus.

These bacteria are highly contagious. Strep A bacteria may spread through airborne droplets. It transmits germs through coughing, sneezing, or sharing food or drinks. These bacteria also cause the contamination of surfaces such as a doorknob. You can transfer the infectious agent by touching your nose, mouth, or eyes.

So, you must consider the strep contagiousness. When someone has a sore throat, fever, or other strep throat signs, you must keep a distance. You must practice good hygiene as well. So the strep contagiousness is one of the strep throat causes.

Risk factors of streptococcus throat

Several factors can increase your risk of strep throat infection:

  • Young age. Strep throat occurs most commonly in the pediatric age group
  • Time of year. Although strep throat can happen anytime, it tends to circulate in winters and early spring. Strep bacteria continue to flourish wherever groups of people are in close contact.


Although strep throat isn’t dangerous, it can lead to serious complications. Antibiotic treatment reduces risk.

Inflammatory reactions

Strep infection may lead to inflammatory illnesses, including:

  • Scarlet fever, a strep infection in which a prominent rash is a common symptom
  • Inflammation of the kidney (post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis)
  • Rheumatic fever, a serious inflammatory condition that can affect the heart, nervous system,  joints, and skin
  • Poststreptococcal reactive arthritis, a condition that causes inflammation of the joints

It is seen that a relationship is present between the streptococcus infection and pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder (PANDAS). PANDAS is a term used for a disease of pediatric age group having the symptoms of neuropsychiatric conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder or tic disorders, are worsened by a strep infection. This relationship currently remains unproven and controversial.

Prevention against Strep throat

To prevent strep infection:

  • Wash and clean your hands. Proper hand hygiene is the best and easiest way to prevent all types of infections. It is very important to clean your hands and to tell your children how to wash and sanitize the hands properly with soap and water or a hand sanitizer.
  • Use a face mask. Ask your children to cover the mouths while coughing and sneezing
  • Avoid the sharing of personal items. Don’t share personal glasses or utensils. Wash dishes in hot, soapy water in a proper way.

Sore throat no fever-Can it be a strep throat?

It is quite possible that you have a sore throat without fever and you are suffering from a strep throat. In this condition, although you have mild strep A infection it is still contagious. If you have a sore throat and no cough, it can also be strep throat. You must take necessary measures

Diagnosis – Strep test

The only way to determine the cause of a sore throat is a rapid strep test or a throat culture.  A doctor can never be sure that if someone has a strep throat just by looking at the throat.

In a rapid strep test, a swab of the throat is taken and the test is done on it. The test rapidly shows the causative agent. Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics for strep throat if the test is positive. If the doctor still suspects the strep throat despite a negative test, then again swab is obtained.

This time the bacteria are allowed to grow on the swab. A rapid strep test is very important in children and as they can get rheumatic fever.

Strep throat treatment – Antibiotics for strep throat

Strep throat treatment includes antibiotics. An antibiotic is a medication that kills infection-causing bacteria.

Penicillin and amoxicillin are the common strep throat antibiotics. Other antibiotics for strep throat can be ordered for people who are allergic to penicillin.

Your doctor may give your child a shot of strep throat antibiotics or in pill or liquid form. You must take the pills or syrup of antibiotics for streptococcus throat for 10 days. Follow your doctor’s instructions. Complete the course of antibiotics even if you are free of strep throat symptoms. It is because the bacteria can still be intact even you are symptom-free.

How can you relieve the pain of strep throat?

Streptococcus throat and sore throat treatment also includes

  • Drinking warm, soothing liquids, such as tea.
  • Taking a pain killer, such as acetaminophen to relieve pain
  • Gargle with saltwater

Do remember that Aspirin can cause Reye’s syndrome, a life-threatening illness. So, avoid the use of aspirin in children

Antibiotics for sore throat

Streptococcus bacterium is not the cause of every sore throat. Mostly the sore throats are caused by viruses. Viruses heal on their own and cannot be treated with antibiotics.

Infections caused by bacteria such as group A streptococcus can be treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics for a sore throat caused by streptococcus pharyngitis include:

  • Azithromycin (Zmax, Zithromax)
  • Cephalosporins, including cephalexin (Keflex), cefixime (Suprax) and cefuroxime (Ceftin)
  • Clarithromycin (Biaxin)
  • Clindamycin (Cleocin)

You can give your antibiotics by mouth 1 to 3 times daily. Sometimes the doctor gives the antibiotics by a shot. The antibiotics for sore throat must be given when you have confirmed a streptococcus throat. As these antibiotics have potential side-effects.

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