Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the throat caused by group A streptococcus bacteria (Streptococcus pyrogenes.)1 This is a contagious disease that can affect people of all ages, but typically occurs among children and adolescents between the ages of 5 and 15.
While you can be diagnosed with it at any time of the year, the disease is most prominent during early spring and late fall, and may spread in schools, day care centers, military barracks, offices and households.2,3,4
Strep throat can be passed from one person to another by sharing utensils, glasses and plates with people who are infected with or are showing signs of the disease, or by getting into close contact with saliva or nasal secretions of these people and touching your skin, eyes, mouth or nose afterward.5,6,7,8
Although they have certain qualities that make them similar to each other, strep throat should not be confused with sore throat. As you will find out, there are major differences between these two, especially when it comes to the symptoms, causes and methods of diagnosis.
Common Symptoms of Strep Throat
According to the Mayo Clinic, strep throat manifests through symptoms such as throat pain, difficulty in swallowing, red and swollen tonsils with white patches or pus streaks, swollen and tender lymph nodes on the neck, and tiny red spots at the back of the roof of the mouth (soft or hard palate).
Other indicators that you have strep throat include fever, headache, rashes, body aches or even nausea and vomiting, especially in kids.9 If you or someone you know is already showing signs of strep throat, contact a physician or health expert so the disease can be treated immediately.
Strep Throat May Lead to Complications
If strep throat is not treated immediately, the bacteria can spread further into the body and cause infections in the tonsils, throat, sinuses, skin, blood, ear and brain and spinal canal.
You’re also at a higher risk for inflammatory illnesses such as acute rheumatic fever, post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis, scarlet fever, guttate psoriasis, and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome.10,11,12,13
The good news is, not only can you treat strep throat, the disease can heal in as early as two to five days.14
There are also strategies that you can implement in order to prevent the onset of strep throat. One is by making the switch from processed, sugar-loaded food to real and organic food, such as fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products.
Washing your hands thoroughly with regular, non-antibacterial soap, getting enough rest, and increasing your vitamin C and vitamin D intake are other techniques you can practice to stop strep throat from affecting you.