Strep throat, known medically as streptococcal pharyngitis is a bacterial infection that can be very painful. However, it’s not only painful. You should get strep throat checked out right away to begin treatment, since untreated strep throat can lead to further infections or complications down the road.
What is strep throat and what are the symptoms?
Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the back of the throat. It is more common in kids than adults. Symptoms vary but almost always include a painfully sore throat that often comes on quickly, especially upon swallowing. According to the CDC, other symptoms can include:
White patches on tonsils or tonsils that are red
Petichiae (red spots on palate)
Swollen lymph nodes
Strep throat is spread easily through droplets in the air (sneezes and coughs) or by coming in contact with a surface infected with the bacteria that causes strep throat. It often spreads quickly in group settings like schools.
How is strep throat diagnosed?
There are two tests available when checking for strep throat. A rapid strep test is a quick test that can determine whether the patient has strep or not within minutes. However, this test is not as accurate as the other testing option available, and sometimes gives false negatives. In that case, if the doctor still suspects strep throat, they will perform a throat culture. This test takes longer to get results back but is much better at detecting strep throat.
What treatments are available for strep throat?
Once you get positive strep test results, your doctor will prescribe you antibiotics. These will kill the bacteria responsible for the infection. Sometimes, strep throat can progress and cause further issues such as an abscess, or ear and sinus infections. If you are still experiencing symptoms of strep throat after about 2 days on antibiotics, contact your doctor. Your infection may need stronger treatment.
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