A doctor is examining a child with a sore throat. The doctor is listening to the child's breathing with a stethoscope. The child is sitting on the exam table, looking a little uncomfortable.


Strep throat is a common bacterial infection that affects the throat and tonsils. It is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes, also known as group A strep. Strep throat is more common in children, but it can affect people of all ages.


The main symptom of strep throat is a sore throat. Other symptoms may include:

  • Fever (usually 38 degrees Celsius or higher)
  • Red, swollen tonsils
  • White or yellow spots on the tonsils
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Rash (scarlet fever)


Strep throat is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes, also known as group A strep. This bacteria is a common inhabitant of the human body, living in the nose and throat of healthy people. However, it can cause infection if it gets into the throat or tonsils. This can happen when the bacteria is spread through contact with the respiratory droplets of an infected person. These droplets are released when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Strep throat can also be spread through contact with objects that have been contaminated with the bacteria, such as doorknobs or towels.


Strep throat is most contagious during the first 2-3 days of infection, but it can remain contagious for up to 10 days after the start of symptoms. People can be contagious even if they do not have any symptoms.

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If you think you may have strep throat, it is important to see a doctor right away. Strep throat can be diagnosed with a physical exam and a throat swab. The throat swab is a quick and painless procedure that involves rubbing a cotton swab on the back of the throat. The swab is then sent to a laboratory to be tested for the presence of the Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria.


Strep throat is treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics help to kill the bacteria and clear up the infection. It is important to take the entire course of antibiotics, even if you start to feel better sooner. This is because the bacteria can develop resistance to antibiotics if they are not completely killed.


Strep throat can lead to serious complications if it is not treated promptly. These complications include:

  • Rheumatic fever: This is a rare but serious condition that can damage the heart valves.
  • Glomerulonephritis: This is an inflammation of the kidneys.
  • Peritonsillar abscess: This is a collection of pus that forms around the tonsils.
  • Mastoiditis: This is an infection of the mastoid bone, which is located behind the ear.


There are a few things you can do to help prevent strep throat:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid sharing food and drinks with others.
  • Get vaccinated against the flu. The flu virus can weaken the immune system and make people more susceptible to strep throat.

More health tips

The Color of Your Snot: A Housewife’s Perspective

Combating the Flu: A Guide to Swift Recovery

Sore Throats: A Common Ailment with a Variety of Causes and Treatments

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Emma Garcia


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