Strep throat is a bacterial infection caused by group A Streptococcus bacterium. It’s one of the most common causes of sore throats, and strep alone accounts for nearly one third of sore throats in children.
Strep throat is characterized by a sore, scratchy, or swollen throat — but a sore throat is a symptom of many illnesses, including the common cold and the flu. Learning to spot the signs of strep throat is important, because strep requires specialized treatment to help you (or your child) feel better.
Our team at Medical Associates Of North Texas specializes in acute care for children and adults. Read on to learn more about strep throat and when to consider making an acute care appointment to get the care you need.
Common symptoms of strep throat
Strep throat is a bacterial infection that spreads through contact. Bacteria found in the nose and mouth can spread when someone wipes their nose, coughs, or sneezes. You or your child could catch strep throat if you come in contact with someone else who is sick.
Strep can make your throat swollen and painful, but it’s not always easy to know what’s causing your symptoms. Some of the most common signs of strep throat are:
- Throat pain that comes on quickly
- Pain with swallowing
- Swollen lymph nodes in neck
- Swollen tonsils
There are a few symptoms that may indicate it’s not strep throat. If your sore throat comes with symptoms like cough, congestion, or hoarseness, it may be caused by a viral infection like a cold or the flu.
Although strep throat can affect anyone, it’s most common in school-aged children. It rarely affects adults.
What to do if you think it’s strep throat
Strep throat infections differ from other common respiratory illnesses like colds and flus. That’s because strep is a bacterial infection, while the common cold and the flu are viruses.
Your immune system is equipped to fight off many viral infections. If you have a cold or the flu, you can expect to start feeling better with a few days of rest. However, bacterial infections can be more difficult to fight.
Leaving strep throat untreated can cause infection to spread to other parts of your body. This could increase your risk of conditions like ear infection, sinus infection, and lymph node infection.
Instead, make a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible if you think you or your child could have strep throat. Our team provides prompt care for acute illnesses, including strep throat.
We do a strep throat test to determine if you have a strep infection. If the test comes back positive, we typically prescribe antibiotic medication. Follow the doctor’s instructions for taking the antibiotic, and you should start feeling better within a few days.
Are you or your child bothered by a sore throat? If you think it could be strep throat, don’t wait to make a doctor’s appointment. Call our Fort Worth, Texas, office at 972-695-8053 to schedule an acute care appointment.