The condition known as strep throat is the result of a bacterial infection that makes the throat feel scratchy and sore, and often causes a fever.
Although few cases of sore throats are strep throat, it is important to diagnose and treat strep throat as soon as possible; it is a contagious infection and one that may lead to more serious health complications without treatment. If you or your child has signs of strep throat described here, you should contact your primary care physician.
Strep Throat Symptoms
Strep throat is most common among children between 5 and 15, but anyone can contract strep throat regardless of age. It is also possible to exhibit signs and symptoms of strep throat, but not actually have the infection. In addition, some people are carriers of the streptococcal bacteria that cause strep throat but don’t get sick.
Common strep throat symptoms include:
- Sore throat
- Scratchy sensation in the throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Red, swollen tonsils that may have white patches
- Red spots in the rear of the roof of the mouth
You should see your doctor if:
- Swollen lymph glands are also present
- A sore throat lasts longer than two days
- A fever higher than 101 F is present or a fever persists for longer than 48 hours
- A sore throat and other symptoms are accompanied by a rash
- Breathing difficulties are present
Strep Throat Risks and Treatment
Without treatment, the bacteria that cause strep throat can continue to spread to others and within your own body. Untreated strep throat can eventually infect your tonsils, sinuses and inner ears; in rare cases, it can also lead to scarlet fever, kidney inflammation and rheumatic fever.
Strep throat is typically treated with oral antibiotics intended to kill bacteria, relieve the uncomfortable symptoms, and prevent contagion. Penicillin and Amoxicillin are the most commonly prescribed medications for strep throat, but alternatives are available for those allergic to drugs in the penicillin family.
If you or your child has symptoms of strep throat, please contact Dr. Andy Fine online or call 303-703-8583 today. Dr. Fine is a board-certified internal medicine specialist and primary care physician who is proud to provide quality medical care to families from the Littleton, Colorado, area.