Strep Throat

Strep is a highly contagious bacterial infection that can affect individuals of all age groups, however, it is most prevalent in children between the ages of 5 and 15 years-old.

What is Strep Throat? 

Strep is a highly contagious bacterial infection that can affect individuals of all age groups, however, it is most prevalent in children between the ages of 5 and 15 years-old.

What Causes Strep Throat?

Strep throat is caused by bacteria known as Streptococcus pyogenes or group A Streptococcus. These bacteria are highly contagious and can easily spread through airborne droplets when an infected patient sneezes or coughs or by sharing food and drinks with sick individuals.

The bacteria can also linger on surfaces such as doorknobs, railings, and flat surfaces, and can easily be transferred onto a healthy individual who may later transfer them to their nose, mouth or eyes and become infected.

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Preventing Strep Throat

By knowing what causes strep, individuals can take appropriate steps to stop the spread of the infection, these steps include:

  • Wash Your Hands Frequently: Having clean hands is the best way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. It is important for both children and adults to frequently wash their hands with plenty of soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover Your Mouth and Nose: Adults should lead by example and teach their children to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze.
  • Don’t Share Eating Utensils or Drinking Glasses: The Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria is most commonly transferred through infected droplets, which means that sharing a spoon, fork or a drinking from someone else’s glass could get you infected.

Strep Throat Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Strep include:

  • Sudden Severe Sore Throat
  • Redness and Swelling of the Tonsils, (sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus)
  • Painful Swallowing
  • Small red spots on the back of the roof of the mouth
  • Fever
  • Swollen, Tender Lymph Nodes
  • Headaches
  • Rash
  • Body Aches
  • Nausea and Vomiting, especially in Young Children
  • Occasional Abdominal Pain

Patients with strep throat can be contagious up to two weeks after symptoms manifest, but infected individuals can be contagious even if they have not demonstrated any of these symptoms.

Other illnesses share the same symptoms as strep throat, to get a proper diagnosis, physicians will prescribe a strep test.

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