Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the throat and tonsils. It is caused by Group A Streptococcus bacterium that make their home in the throat and nose. Like most bacterial infections, Strep throat is spread through close contact with people who are either a carrier of Strep throat or already sick with it.
It’s most commonly spread through droplets of contaminated bodily fluid through coughing, sneezing, or sharing food or drinks with an infected person. While it mainly affects children and teenagers, adults are also susceptible to strep throat if they come in contact with the bacteria.
The most common sign of strep is a painful, “raw” feeling throat that comes on suddenly and acutely. It may also hurt to swallow. Strep may also be accompanied by a fever of 101 degrees or more, as well as stomach pains, nausea, vomiting, and a headache.
The back of the throat may show swollen, reddened tonsils and white patches. Some people may also experience red spots on the roof of their mouth.
A doctor can identify strep throat through a rapid strep test or a throat culture. The rapid strep test can identify the bacteria in only minutes with a simple swab of the back of the throat.
If the rapid strep is negative, but the doctor still suspects strep throat, a throat culture may be conducted and sent to a lab to confirm or rule out the presence of streptococci bacteria. It may take up to two days to get the results of a throat culture.
Antibiotics are the most common treatment method to kill the bacteria that causes strep throat. Most courses of treatment last about 10 days. Medication should be taken exactly as directed to prevent resistance to the antibiotic and to ensure that all of the bacteria have been eliminated.
If strep symptoms are present, it’s a good idea to visit a CareWell clinic for a strep test as antibiotics are the fastest and most effective way to kill the streptococci bacteria and begin to heal from the painful symptoms of a swollen, infected throat.