Signs and Symptoms of Strep Throat

What is Strep Throat?

Strep throat is a bacterial infection that causes sore throat, fever, and difficulty swallowing. It is highly contagious and is commonly spread through coughing and sneezing. Children and teens are more susceptible to strep throat, and early diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics are crucial to prevent complications. If left untreated, strep throat can lead to rheumatic fever, kidney damage, and other serious health issues. If you suspect you or your child has strep throat, seek medical attention promptly to receive appropriate treatment and prevent the spread of infection.


Strep Throat Diagnosis

The doctor will perform a rapid strep test in the office using a cotton swab to take a sample of the fluids at the back of the throat. The test only takes about 5 minutes. However, if the test is negative, the doctor will send a sample to a lab for a throat culture, and the results are available within a couple of days. It is important to note that strep throat is rare in babies and toddlers, and doctors usually do not test for it in this age group.

Strep Throat Treatment

Strep throat usually needs treatment with antibiotics. With the proper medical care — and plenty of rest and fluids — most kids get back to school and play within a few days.

Doctors usually prescribe about 10 days of antibiotic medicine to treat strep throat. Even though strep throat can go away on its own after about a week, antibiotics can help make a person feel better faster and can keep the infection from spreading to other people. Within about 12 hours after starting antibiotics, your child probably won’t have a fever and won’t be contagious. By the second or third day, other symptoms should start to go away. Even when kids feel better, they should keep taking the antibiotics as prescribed. This is the best way to kill the harmful bacteria. Otherwise, bacteria can stay in the throat and symptoms can come back. Taking all the antibiotics also prevents other health problems that GAS can cause, such as rheumatic fever (which can cause heart damage), kidney disease, or more serious infections in other parts of the body.