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Symptoms of Strep Throat and How to Treat It

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Symptoms of Strep Throat and How to Treat It

A strep infection can cause a painful sore throat. Group A streptococcus, or group A strep, is the bacteria that causes strep throat. This infection is very common in children, but people can develop strep at any age once exposed to group A strep.

Other health conditions, like viral infections, can cause a sore throat. It’s important to identify other symptoms you may have. Medical staff can also perform certain diagnostic tests to determine if you have a bacterial infection.

Strep Throat Symptoms

Many people who suddenly develop a scratchy or painful throat think they have strep. But there are other signs to look for that can help you and your doctor determine what is wrong. Common strep throat symptoms include the following:

  • A fever and sometimes chills
  • Body rash
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite and nausea or vomiting, especially in children
  • Pain when you swallow
  • Redness or white steaks in the throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Swollen throat or tonsils
  • Tiny red bumps on the roof of the mouth or at the back of the throat

If you notice any of these symptoms and have a body rash, it may be scarlet fever. The rash usually appears on the neck or chest first and then spreads.

strep throat

What Causes Strep Throat?

Group A streptococcus is the bacteria that causes strep throat. Someone with strep throat can quickly pass it to others in several ways. You can develop an infection if you come into contact with respiratory droplets. Sharing food or a drink with an infected person can also spread strep.

Most people with strep do not have a cough. A cough and congestion with mucus is usually a symptom of a viral infection.

It is rare, but sometimes strep spreads through contaminated food. And a person can spread strep to others even if they do not have any symptoms. They may be strep carriers and feel fine but still be infectious.

How to Treat Strep Throat

It is essential to see a doctor if you have strep throat. Untreated strep throat can develop into a more serious condition, such as rheumatic fever.

Your doctor will most likely prescribe antibiotics. It can take a few days before you feel better and your symptoms become less severe.

There are several things you can do to ease the pain and discomfort of a strep infection, including:

  • Drink warm herbal teas and add honey, which can soothe the throat
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Stay hydrated
  • Take over-the-counter pain relief
  • Take vitamin C to support your body’s immune system

How a Doctor Diagnoses Strep

Your doctor will examine you and look for signs of strep infection. There are also tests that can confirm the presence of the strep bacteria. The doctor will use a cotton swab to gather material and do a rapid test. The swab can also help the doctor prepare a throat culture, although the results will take longer. However, a throat culture is more accurate and can detect cases of strep that the rapid test misses.

UF Health Emergency & Urgent Care Center

Visit UF Health Emergency & Urgent Care Centers for Strep Throat Treatment

Strep throat is a very painful illness that can happen suddenly. You might not have time to see your usual doctor, or you might have other worrisome symptoms. Get the care you need quickly when you visit UF Health Emergency & Urgent Care Centers.

At UF Health Emergency & Urgent Care Centers, our goal is to provide the residents of Northeast Florida with exceptional service and the proper billing for the care they need. Our combined emergency room and urgent care is fully equipped to handle everything from allergies to fractures to chest pain, with on-site labs, X-ray, ultrasound and CT imaging, all under one roof. The ER and urgent care centers are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No appointment is necessary — just walk in!

Find the UF Health Emergency & Urgent Care Center in Jacksonville nearest you at