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Strep Throat: Meaning And Symptoms

Strep throat is a common but uncomfortable condition that often affects both children and adults. In this article, we explore the meaning of strep throat and the telltale symptoms to watch out for.

  • 02 Nov 2023
  • 3 min read
  • 33 views

As seasons change and temperatures shift, our bodies can become more vulnerable to various illnesses. One pervasive ailment that will generally arise is strep throat, a condition influencing the throat as well as tonsils caused by the bacterium ‘Streptococcus pyogenes’. Understanding what is strep throat and recognising its symptoms is essential for immediately diagnosing and administering treatment.

 

What is strep throat?

Strep throat, medically called ‘streptococcal pharyngitis,’ is a bacterial disease essentially focusing on the throat and tonsils. The causative agent behind this contamination is Streptococcus pyogenes, also called group A streptococcus. This microorganism productively spreads through airborne drops when an infected individual coughs or sneezes, displaying a significant level of infectiousness. Although more predominant among children and youth, strep throat can affect people of all age groups.

 

Signs and symptoms of strep throat

Strep throat presents a range of symptoms that can often be mistaken for other throat infections. Common signs include:

  • Sore throat: The most distinctive symptom of strep throat is a sudden and severe sore throat. It often makes swallowing painful and can lead to discomfort while talking.
  • Fever: A high fever, typically above 101°F (38.3°C), is common with strep throat. This fever can come on suddenly, and one may also suffer from chills.
  • Swollen tonsils and throat: The tonsils may become red and swollen, sometimes with white or yellow patches. The back of the throat might also appear red and inflamed.
  • Headache and body aches: Individuals suffering from strep throat may encounter headaches and overall muscle discomfort reminiscent of cold or flu symptoms.
  • Loss of appetite and fatigue: Discomfort due to the infection could lead to a decreased desire to eat and heightened feelings of tiredness.
  • Swollen lymph nodes: In reaction to the infection, the lymph nodes in the neck could become sensitive and swollen.

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When to visit your doctor?

Strep throat shares symptoms with viral infections like the common cold, making proper diagnosis crucial. It’s vital to consult a healthcare professional if you suspect you have strep throat. A doctor can resort to the throat swab method to identify whether the disease stems from Streptococcus pyogenes. Inability to address strep throat quickly can bring about severe problems.

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