What Is Strep Throat?
Strep throat is a throat infection caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria (group A strep), which cause irritation and swelling of the tonsils and throat.
Your throat is the cylindrical pathway that connects your mouth to your windpipe and esophagus. The technical term for the throat is pharynx, this is why a sore and inflamed throat caused by a group A Streptococcus infection is also referred to as streptococcal pharyngitis. Another term for strep throat is streptococcal tonsillitis (inflammation of the tonsils). A majority of sore throats are due to viral infections, but the most common bacterial cause of a sore throat is due to strep throat.
Complications of Strep Throat
A strep throat can be the source of more serious health problems in other parts of the body when left untreated. Colonies of bacteria can make it to the kidneys, heart, and other organs.
Diagnosing Strep Throat
Quick diagnostic tests are utilized to check if a sore throat is caused by group A Streptococcus so swift antibiotic therapy can be prescribed.
Strep throat is infectious and easily spreadable. Although it is most common in children, the infection can be transferred in airborne particles to anyone.
Symptoms of Strep Throat
Symptoms of strep throat include red, inflamed, and swollen tonsils and a sore throat. Tonsils may be covered in white patches of pus.
Other symptoms include:
- Pain with swallowing.
Treatment for Strep Throat
Recovery from strep throat for people in good health is done at home by taking prescribed antibiotics as directed. Additional treatment can also include measures to assist in relieving symptoms and keep the body as strong as possible to lower the risk of developing further problems. Self-care steps include drinking adequate amounts of fluids, taking medications to ease body aches and fever, and resting.
Prescribed antibiotics are required for curing strep throat. Seek prompt medical care if you have strep throat symptoms, such as fever and sore throat; if you have increased swelling of the tonsils; or if you have a diagnosed case of strep throat that is not getting better with antibiotics.
More serious problems arising from strep throat, such as rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease, can be serious, even life threatening in rare cases. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or somebody you are with, have difficulty breathing, are unable to swallow, or have a change in consciousness or alertness.