Strep throat is a contagious diseases caused by infection with bacteria, which causing inflammation and swelling of the mucous membranes lining the back of the throat. Strep throat is a common cause of sore throat in school-aged children and teens, and its prompt diagnosis and treatment is important to prevent any potential complications. One of the major symptoms of strep throat is a sore, scratchy, and itching throat.
It’s important to identify strep throat for a number of reasons. If untreated, strep throat can sometimes cause complications such as kidney inflammation and rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever can lead to painful and inflamed joints, a rash and even damage to heart valves.
Strep throat is highly contagious and mostly common between the ages of 5 and 15, but it affects people of all ages. They can spread through airborne droplets when someone with the infection coughs or sneezes, or through shared food or drinks. If you or your child has signs or symptoms of strep throat, see your doctor for prompt testing and treatment.
In general, signs and symptoms of strep throat include:
- Throat pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain
- Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus
- Tiny red spots on the soft or hard palate — the area at the back of the roof of the mouth
- Swollen, tender lymph glands (nodes) in your neck
- Stomachache and sometimes vomiting, especially in younger children
When you visit a doctor, he or she may suggest over-the-counter medications to relieve throat pain and reduce fever, such as:
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others)
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others)
If you or someone you know need the attention of a health care provider, please consult your primary care provider. If your primary care doctor is unavailable, please visit Preferred Urgent Care immediate; no appointment necessary.