The feeling is familiar: you’re going about your busy day when you feel a slight soreness in your throat. Is this just a slight irritation or could it be something more serious – possibly strep throat? Read on to learn about strep throat, its symptoms, and treatments.

What is strep throat?

Strep throat is abacterial infection of the throat caused bybacteria called Streptococcus pyogenes. These bacteria are highly contagious and can be spread through the air, by sharing food or drinks, or by touching a contaminated surface (like a door knob) and then touching your nose, eyes or mouth.

What are the symptoms of strep throat?

Symptoms of strep throat can include:
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fever
  • Red, swollen tonsils - sometimes with streaks of pus
  • Headache
  • Swollen lymph glands on the neck
  • Stomachache and nausea, especially in younger children
  • Fatigue

It is important to note that you may experience many of these symptoms and not have strep throat. Your doctor can help you determine whether or not you have strep throat.

How is strep throat diagnosed?

Strep throat is usually diagnosed through a physical exam and lab tests. Your physician may check for symptoms of strep throat, such as fever, redness, swelling and the presence of pus on the tonsils or throat. Your physician may also order a lab test to confirm the presence of strep throat. This test is performed by using a sterile swab to rub over the tonsils and back of the throat.

How is strep throat treated?

If a diagnosis of strep throat is made, your physician may prescribe antibiotics. Antibiotics reduce the severity and duration of the symptoms, as well as reduce the risk of the infection spreading. Additionally, to help ease symptoms, your doctor may suggest over-the-counter medications to relieve throat pain and reduce fever. You may also relieve symptoms by gargling with warm salt water, using a humidifier, and drinking plenty of water to keep your sore throat moist.


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