What is Strep Throat?

Strep throat is a bacterial infection that causes soreness and scratchiness in the throat. Only a small percentage of sore throats are caused by strep throat. It can lead to problems such as kidney irritation or rheumatic fever if left untreated. Rheumatic fever can cause painful and inflamed joints, a specific type of rash, and damage to the heart valves. Children are the most common victims of strep throat, although it may afflict anyone of any age. If you or your kid develops strep throat symptoms, consult your doctor right away for testing and treatment.

Strep Throat Symptoms

The following are some of the signs and symptoms of strep throat:

  • A severe pain in the throat.
  • Swallowing is painful.
  • Tonsils that are red and swollen, with white patches or pus streaks.
  • Tiny red patches on the roof of the mouth, near the back (soft or hard palate)
  • Neck lymph nodes that are swollen and painful
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Nausea or vomiting, especially in children under the age of six.
  • Aches in the body

Many of these signs and symptoms may be present in you or your kid, yet you or your child may not have strep throat. A viral infection or another sickness could be the source of these signs and symptoms.



It is caused by streptococcus pyogenes, often known as group A streptococcus. Streptococcal bacteria are easily spreadable. They can be spread through droplets from infected people coughing or sneezing, or through sharing food or drinks. Bacteria can also be picked up and transferred from a doorknob or other surface to your nose, mouth, or eyes.

Risk factors

Several things can increase your chances of contracting strep throat:

  • Age : The most common victims of strep throat are children.
  • Season : Despite the fact that strep throat can strike at any time, it is more common in the winter and early spring. Strep germs thrive in situations when large groups of people are in close proximity.


To avoid strep infection, take the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands : Hand washing is the most effective approach to avoid all types of diseases. That's why it's critical to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds on a frequent basis. Teach your children how to properly wash their hands with soap and water, or how to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your mouth with your hand : When your children cough or sneeze, teach them to cover their mouths with an elbow or a tissue.
  • Personal items should not be shared : Drinking glasses and eating utensils should not be shared. Dishes can be washed in hot, soapy water or put in the dishwasher.


Your doctor will perform a physical examination, search for signs and symptoms of strep throat, and most likely prescribe one or more of the tests listed below:

  • Antigen test : A swab sample from your throat may be used in a quick antigen test by your doctor. By examining for chemicals (antigens) in the throat, this test can detect strep bacteria in minutes. If the test is negative but your doctor still suspects strep, a throat culture may be performed
  • A PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test : It is a type of molecular test. A swab sample from your throat is also used for this test.
  • Throat culture : A sample of the secretions, a sterile swab is rubbed over the back of the throat and tonsils. It's not painful, but it could make you gag. The sample is then cultured in a lab to see if germs are present, but results can take up to two days.


There are medications that can be used to treat strep throat, alleviate its symptoms, and avoid complications and spread.


If your doctor diagnoses you or your child with strep throat, an oral antibiotic will most likely be prescribed. Antibiotics reduce the duration and severity of symptoms, as well as the risk of complications and the spread of infection if given within 48 hours of the commencement of the illness.
You or your child should feel better in a day or two after starting treatment. If you haven't seen any improvement after taking antibiotics for 48 hours, contact your doctor.
Children who are feeling well and do not have a fever can usually return to school or child care after they are no longer contagious, which is usually 24 hours after starting treatment. Complete the full course of prescriptions. Recurrences and significant consequences, such as rheumatic fever or renal irritation, might occur if you stop too soon.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will strep throat go away on its own?

Strep throat is unlikely to go away on its own. It is a bacterial infection caused by Group A Streptococcus, and antibiotics are often necessary to effectively treat it. Without proper treatment, It can persist, and there is a risk of complications, so it's essential to consult a healthcare professional for diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

2. How painful is strep throat?

Strep throat can be quite painful. The sore throat associated with strep is often more severe than that of a typical viral throat infection. It can be accompanied by discomfort when swallowing, swollen and red tonsils, and white or yellow spots at the back of the throat. Other common symptoms, including fever and headache, can add to the overall discomfort experienced by individuals with strep throat. Antibiotics are prescribed to help alleviate the pain and accelerate recovery.

3. How long is someone with strep throat contagious?

A person with strep throat is usually contagious until 24 hours after starting antibiotics. If left untreated, they can remain contagious for up to two to three weeks. Practicing good hygiene, such as handwashing and covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing, can help prevent the spread of the infection.

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