Updated: January 26, 2018
Strep throat is a bacterial infection caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria. The infection will cause inflammation and pain in the throat which can make you feel as if your throat is sore and scratchy. Strep throat can affect children and adults of any age. However, it is especially common in children between the age group of 5 and 15. The infection can be spread from one person to another by sneezing and coughing. Complications, such as kidney inflammation or rheumatic fever can occur if left untreated.
The severity of strep throat can vary from person-to-person. Mild symptoms like a sore throat can be experienced by some people, whereas other people have more severe symptoms including fever and difficulty swallowing.
Usually within five days of exposure to the bacteria, the symptoms of strep throat would develop. Sore throats are not necessarily a result of a strep infection always. These may be due to other illness such as common cold, sinus infection, postnasal drip or acid reflux.
Usually sore throats caused by other medical conditions improve on their own with or without treatment in a few days. If you experience a sore throat that lasts longer than two days with above symptoms, then it is advisable to visit your doctor.
It is possible that the cause of these signs and symptoms could be a viral infection or some other illness. Therefore some specific test related to strep throat should be done for diagnosis.
The cause of strep throat is a bacteria known as Streptococcus pyogenes. This is also known as group A streptococcus which are highly contagious. They can spread through airborne droplets when someone with the infection coughs or sneezes, or through shared food or drinks. You can also get these bacteria from a doorknob or other surface when you touch these contagious surface and touch your nose, mouth or eyes.
The risk of strep throat infection increases because of
Strep throat occurs most commonly in children.
Although strep throat can occur anytime, it is more common in early spring. Wherever groups of people are in close contact, there is chances of contamination of strep bacteria.
Strep throat can lead to serious complications which could be due to either spread of infection or inflammatory reactions.
Strep bacteria may spread, causing infection in:
Strep infection may lead to inflammatory illnesses, including:
You can follow the following tips to prevent strep infection:
Proper hand cleaning is the best way to prevent all kinds of infections and maintain a good hygiene. That is why it is important to clean your hands regularly and properly using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer especially before handling food and after using toilet. You should teach your children how to clean their hands regularly and maintain proper hygiene.
Teach your children to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze. You can also cover your mouth and nose when somebody around you cough or sneeze to avoid breathing airborne droplets.
Do not share drinking glasses or eating utensils with anyone. Before using wash dishes in hot, soapy water or in a dishwasher.