What is strep throat?
Strep throat is an infection caused by bacteria called group A streptococcus. The bacteria infect the throat and tonsils causing a very sore throat to develop suddenly. The majority of sore throats are caused by viruses, not strep bacteria. If you have a sore throat and have other symptoms of a cold such as coughing and sneezing you probably don’t have strep throat.
What are the symptoms of strep throat?
- very sore throat
- hurts to swallow
- swollen and tender neck glands
- red and white patches in the throat
- lower stomach pain
- loss of appetite and nausea
- general discomfort, uneasiness, or feeling ill
You should see a health care provider if the illness seems to be causing more serious symptoms.
How is strep throat spread?
The bacteria that cause strep throat are found in the saliva, nose and throat of an infected person. Activities such as coughing or sneezing can spread the bacteria to others. Sharing personal items that have come into contact with an infected person’s saliva, such as drinking glasses, water bottles or eating utensils, can also spread the infection.
It usually takes one to three days for symptoms to appear after having contact with someone who has strep throat.
How is strep throat treated?
Your health care provider may prescribe an antibiotic. It is important to finish all of the medication that has been prescribed, even if you start to feel better.
You can treat mild symptoms at home.
How is strep throat prevented?
Simple preventative measures can reduce the spread of infection.