Strep throat is a very common infection—especially among those between the ages of 5 and 15. While this infection is very common, it can also turn quite severe if not treated quickly and effectively.
With one of strep’s most common symptoms being a sore throat, how are you supposed to know if you actually have this contagious infection or not? Our team at AFC Urgent Care Chattanooga has some answers, so read on.
What Exactly Is Strep Throat?
According to the CDC, strep throat is an infection in the throat and tonsils caused by a bacteria group called A Streptococcus, or group A strep.
Strep lives in the nose and throat and can be spread by coughing or sneezing. When you cough or sneeze, this spreads respiratory droplets into the air that contain strep bacteria. Strep throat is an easy infection to catch, and we’ve listed some common ways people get sick with it below.
Common Ways to Catch Strep Throat
- Breathe in respiratory droplets containing strep bacteria
- Touch something with droplets on it and then touch their mouth or nose
- Drink from the same glass or eat from the same plate as a sick person
- Touch sores on the skin caused by group A strep
How Can I Be Sure that I Don’t Just Have a Sore Throat?
The two most tell-tale signs of strep throat are having a fever and sore throat without a cough and by a positive rapid strep test.
While a sore throat is a common symptom of both strep throat and a cold virus, a cough is only a symptom of a cold. If you have a painful sore throat without a cold, visit your doctor. If your doctor suspects strep throat, he or she will likely perform a strep test to confirm his or her diagnosis. Strep tests provide reliable results and aren’t usually painful.
Common Strep Throat Symptoms
- A sudden fever, especially if it’s 101˚F or higher
- A sore, red throat with white patches
- A headache
- A loss of appetite
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Trouble swallowing
Feeling rough? We’re here for you at AFC Urgent Care Chattanooga, so don’t hesitate to visit us!