What is Strep Throat?
Streptococcal pharyngitis, commonly referred to as strep throat, is an infection caused by streptococcus bacteria. It is highly contagious and makes your throat extremely sore and causes pain while swallowing. Because it spreads so easily, it is especially common among children and is seen more frequently in fall, winter, and spring. Seeking professional help immediately is a good idea in order to get testing, begin treatment and avoid spreading the condition.
Strep Throat Symptoms
Strep throat symptoms can appear very suddenly, so it’s always a good idea to know what the symptoms are so you can start treatment as soon as possible. Here are some of the symptoms you may notice:
- Sore throat
- Pain and difficulty when swallowing
- Redness and swelling in tonsils
- Fever and headache
- Nausea and vomiting
Diagnosing Strep Throat
In order to diagnose strep throat, a medical professional may conduct a strep test to rule out any other possibilities and confirm it is strep. Two tests can be performed:
- Rapid strep test – This is the first test that is performed as it can detect strep is a few minutes. A nurse or physician will swab your throat and test the swab and if the test comes back positive, you have strep. If negative it doesn’t necessarily rule out strep.
- Throat culture – If the rapid test came back negative, the back of your throat and tonsils will be swabbed and the sample will be sent to a lab.
Treating Strep Throat
If it is confirmed or suspected that you have strep, antibiotics will be prescribed. On top of taking the antibiotics, make sure to get plenty of rest and eat soothing soft cold foods. Also be sure to drink plenty of fluids.