Strep throat, also called acute streptococcal pharyngitis, is an infection with group A streptococcus bacteria that causes a sore throat. Strep throat is most common in children between the ages of 5 and 15, but it affects people of all ages. In addition to throat soreness, signs and symptoms typically include a fever plus tender and swollen lymph glands (nodes) in the neck. Younger children may also complain of abdominal pain.
Strep throat is highly contagious: you and your child may catch it at school, kinder garden, work, from your family members or any group of people. It usually affects people in early spring, winter or the last days of the fall, but it may also occur in other months of the year. You can have this bacterial infection at any age, but most at risk are teenagers and kids.
Strep throat usually requires a trip to the doctor and a dose of antibiotics. But with the proper medical care – along with plenty of rest and fluids – you should be back on your feet in no time.
If you have strep throat infection, you will have a red and painful sore throat and may have white patches on your tonsils.
Infants primarily experience a thick “colorful” (yellow or green) drainage from the nose and possibly a low-grade fever, with fussiness, irritability, and a decrease in appetite.
There may also be dark red lines in the folds of skin. You may get a bright strawberry-red tongue and flushed (rosy) face, while the area around your mouth remains pale. The skin on the tips of your fingers and toes often peels after you get better. If you have a severe case, you may have a high fever, nausea, and vomiting.
Strep throat can be passed from person to person. When a person who has strep throat breathes, coughs, or sneezes, tiny droplets with the strep bacteria go into the air. These droplets can be breathed in by other people. If you come into contact with strep, it will take 2 to 5 days before you start to have symptoms.
Older children generally look and feel awful with strep throat! They can have high fevers, very painful throats, often severe difficulty swallowing, and pus which can sometimes be seen covering the tonsils. These complaints mean that the child should see the doctor right away, as distinguishing viral and bacterial causes of tonsil infection is very important for correct treatment of the infection.
Causes of Throat Infection
Strep throat is caused by Group A streptococcus bacteria and represents an infection and inflammation of the throat. its symptoms which may include nausea, fatigue, discomfort in the abdominal area and high body temperature, may be moderated or severe.
A strep infection causes the throat (pharynx) and the tonsils or adenoids to become irritated, inflamed, and painful.
Streptococcal bacteria are highly contagious. They can spread through airborne droplets when someone with the infection coughs or sneezes. You can also pick up the bacteria from a doorknob or other surface and transfer them to your nose or mouth. Kitchen utensils and bathroom objects are other common sources of infection transmission.
Smoking and heavy drinking, which can damage the lining of the throat, increase the risk of bacterial infection. Frequent heartburn can also encourage throat irritation if the digestive acids rise as high as the throat. People with weak immune systems from HIV/AIDS, diabetes, cancer treatment, or corticosteroid drug use are also at higher risk.