Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the throat and tonsils. It is most common in children between the ages of 5 and 15, but it can also occur in adults.
The most common symptoms of strep throat include:
- Sore throat
- Red and swollen tonsils
- White patches on the tonsils
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Body aches
- Difficulty swallowing
- Loss of appetite
Strep throat is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes, also known as group A Streptococcus. The bacteria can be spread through contact with respiratory droplets from an infected person, such as through coughing or sneezing.
Strep throat can be diagnosed with a rapid strep test or a throat culture. A rapid strep test is a quick and easy test that can be done in your doctor’s office. It involves swabbing the back of your throat to collect a sample of cells.
A throat culture is a more accurate test, but it takes longer to get the results. It involves swabbing the back of your throat to collect a sample of cells and bacteria. The sample is then sent to a laboratory to be tested for the presence of group A Streptococcus bacteria.
Strep throat is treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics are important to kill the bacteria and prevent complications from strep throat, such as rheumatic fever.
Most people with strep throat will start to feel better within a day or two of starting antibiotics. It is important to take the full course of antibiotics, even if you start to feel better sooner. This will help to ensure that all of the bacteria are killed and that the infection does not come back.
In addition to antibiotics, there are a number of home remedies that can help to relieve the symptoms of strep throat. These remedies include:
- Gargling with salt water: Gargling with salt water can help to soothe a sore throat and remove bacteria from the mouth.
- Drinking plenty of fluids: Drinking plenty of fluids can help to prevent dehydration and keep the throat moist.
- Using a humidifier: Using a humidifier can add moisture to the air and help to soothe a sore throat.
- Getting plenty of rest: Getting plenty of rest can help the body to fight off the infection.
If you have any concerns about strep throat, please talk to your doctor.