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Symptoms, causes, and treatments for Strep Throat
Symptoms of Strep Throat
If your throat is irritated and it’s difficult to swallow, and you also have a fever and swollen lymph nodes, you may have strep throat. Not all sore throat symptoms mean you’re infected with streptococcal bacteria, so it’s important to know the difference between a sore throat and strep.
Symptoms associated with strep throat include:
- High fever of at least 101 degrees Fahrenheit
- Reddened, inflamed tonsils covered in white splotches
- Spots on the roof of your mouth
- Swelling in your lymph nodes
Viral sore throats aren’t classified as strep throat, and are instead caused by some of the same viruses as a cold. Viral sore throats can accompany other cold-like symptoms including sneezes, coughs, and nasal drip.
Strep throat bacteria also attack your body much faster than a viral sore throat, which means you’ll likely show symptoms faster if you have strep. You should notice strep symptoms within five days of exposure.
Causes of Strep Throat
Strep throat is a highly contagious bacterial infection. It’s generally spread through person-to-person contact with infected body fluids.
Common ways to spread strep throat include shaking hands with someone who has strep bacteria on their hands, or inhaling airborne droplets from someone’s cough or sneeze. You can also pick up strep from touching infected objects in the office or your home.
Should I Be Worried?
Even though strep throat won’t clear up without antibiotics, in most cases it isn’t life-threatening.
However, you should seek immediate medical attention if you have difficulty breathing. Also, children should see a doctor immediately if any of the following apply:
- All children: fever above 104 degrees Fahrenheit
- Children 12 weeks or younger: fever above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
- Children under 2-years-old: any fever lasting more than 24 hours
- Children 2-years-old and above: any fever lasting more than 72 hours
Additional DIY Articles
Sore Throat; STI; Sinus Infection; UTI; Cough; Ear Infection; Cold; Bladder Infection; Flu; Rash; Stomach Pain; Earwax Buildup; Yeast Infection; Foot Pain; Eye Infection; Fever; Back Pain; Asthma; Neck Pain; Allergies; Insect Bites and Stings; Headache; Diarrhea; Anxiety
Strep Throat Prevention Tips
Consider these tips to help prevent strep throat:
- Keep your hands clean. Mom was right: always wash your hands before a meal, after going to the bathroom (duh), and definitely if you sneeze into them.
- Humidify. Dry air at home? Get a humidifier and help keep your mucus moist, which may fight off bacteria like strep.
- Sharing isn't always caring. You might be dying to share that tasty bánh mì with your fellow foodies, but that's one way to expose yourself to streptococcal bacteria.