There are many signs and symptoms of strep throat, typically developing within five days of exposure to the bacterial infection. These include:1,2
- A sore, red throat with patches
- Swollen and red tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Tiny, red spots in the area behind the roof of the mouth (soft or hard palate)
- Trouble swallowing (this can eventually lead to dehydration because of lack of fluid intake3)
- Nausea or vomiting, especially in young children
- Body aches
- Loss of appetite
It’s important to know that some of the mentioned symptoms aren’t limited only to strep throat, but can be signs of other viral infections or illnesses as well. Either way, you can begin treatment for pains using safe and natural methods.
Strep Throat Symptoms Vary Among Age Groups
Do remember, however, that the severity of these symptoms varies from person-to-person. According to Dr. Steve Doerr, there are special considerations that must be made since the symptoms manifest differently depending on the age group of the patient:4
- Infants: Although strep throat is uncommon in babies, infants who have strep throat usually feed less, appear irritable and fussy, and/or have nasal discharge and low-grade fever.
- Children: They may complain of sore throat, painful swallowing, and abdominal pain. They also tend to eat less.
- Older children and teenagers: They may be extremely uncomfortable and ill-looking because of a severe sore throat and high fever.
- Adults: Compared to the first three groups, adults have less debilitating symptoms, such as a mild sore throat. But, it does not make them immune to severe symptoms of strep throat.
However, if you or someone you know, no matter what age, shows these signs and symptoms, consult a doctor or health care professional immediately:5
- A sore throat accompanied by tender and swollen lymph glands
- A sore throat lasting for more than 48 hours
- A high fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 degrees Celsius) in older children
- A fever lasting longer than 48 hours
- A sore throat coupled with a rash
- Breathing or swallowing problems
These Tests Determine If You Have Strep Throat or Not
Your doctor or health professional will usually conduct a physical exam to search for signs and symptoms of strep throat, and order one or more of these tests on patients:6
- Rapid antigen test: This test is able to spot strep bacteria by searching for substances or antigens in the throat. If the result for this test is negative, the doctor or health professional can still advise to do a throat culture if strep presence is suspected.
- Throat culture: A sterile swab is rubbed over the back of the throat and tonsils to retrieve a sample of the secretions. While this procedure isn’t necessarily painful, it’s known to cause gagging. The sample is “cultured” in a laboratory to detect bacteria presence, with results taking as long as two days.