strep throatStrep throat is an infection most commonly caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria. The bacteria are spread through contact with droplets after an infected person coughs or sneezes. If you touch your mouth, nose or eyes after touching something that has these droplets on it, you may become ill. Strep throat is more common in children and teens than in adults. The most common symptoms include:

Sore throat that usually starts quickly and can cause severe pain when swallowing

Fever (101°F or above)

Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus

Tiny, red spots (petechiae) on the roof of the mouth

Headache, nausea or vomiting

Swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck

Sandpaper-like rash

Doctors can check for strep with a “quick strep test” by swabbing your throat to see if group A strep bacteria are the cause. Just looking at the throat is not enough to make a diagnosis. If the quick test is positive, the doctor can prescribe antibiotics. If the test is negative, but the doctor still strongly suspects you have strep, she can take a throat-culture swab to test further for the bacteria. Those results will take a little longer. The result of the test will help your doctor determine whether giving antibiotics is appropriate.

Source: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

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