While it’s common to develop a sore throat when you have a cold, if you find yourself with a rapid-onset sore throat, you may actually have a condition known as strep throat. Strep throat isn’t a result of talking too much or yelling. It’s an infection with the bacteria known as group A Streptococcus (A Strep).
These germs live in your nasal passages and throat. People who have a strep infection can pass it on to others by coughing or sneezing, which spreads infected droplets into the air and onto nearby surfaces. You might not develop any symptoms for up to five days. You might catch strep throat by:
- Breathing droplet-filled air
- Touching something contaminated
- Eating or drinking from utensils contaminated by the bacteria
Untreated strep throat can develop into scarlet fever within a week. Fortunately, our medical providers easily treat both strep throat and scarlet fever with antibiotics. However, if you leave the infection untreated, it could develop into pneumonia, spread to other parts of your body, or even affect your kidneys and heart.
Our primary care specialists at Low Testosterone Specialists & Primary Care Practice in Allen and Frisco, Texas, are experts at diagnosing and treating strep throat and scarlet fever. How can you tell if you have this contagious disease? The following are a few symptoms and signs of this infection.
If you have a sore throat and a cough, runny nose, or pink eye, you probably don’t have strep throat. Strep throat is caused by bacteria, not a virus. Some of the signs that you have strep throat, rather than a regular sore throat are:
- Swollen tonsils
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Pain when swallowing
- White patches on tonsils
- Tonsils coated by mucus
- Tiny red dots on back of throat
- Tiny red dots on the tonsils
If you have strep throat, you may also have more generalized systemic symptoms that don’t usually accompany a regular sore throat.
The bacteria that cause strep throat can travel to other parts of your body. You may have strep throat if your sore throat is accompanied by non-throat symptoms, such as:
- Achy body
- Stomach ache
Gastrointestinal symptoms are particularly common in children with strep throat. However, people of all ages can develop strep throat, including its systemic symptoms.
When strep throat isn’t treated promptly, the bacteria produce a poison that can spread into your skin, causing a reddish rash known as scarlet fever. The rash usually starts on the:
The rash can spread over your entire body, and it may leave a pale ring around your mouth. Initially, the rash is flat, but it may feel like raised, sandpapery bumps over time. Although the rash only lasts about seven days, your skin may peel for weeks afterward. Scarlet fever is a serious medical condition that needs urgent care.
Who is at risk for strep throat?
You are more likely to develop strep throat or scarlet fever if you’re a child, teacher, or a parent of a child. Children often contract the infection in daycare or school. Military personnel are also at increased risk for strep throat.
If you think you may have strep throat, our experts administer a quick test to see if you’re infected. Your results are ready in about 15 minutes.
If you have strep throat, we treat you with antibiotics to stop the infection from spreading in your body and to reduce the risk of your passing it to someone else. Within 24 hours of getting your strep treatment, you’re no longer contagious. If you have another illness, we can diagnose and treat it so you can be comfortable and healthy again.
To stay healthy and avoid the complications of strep throat, call us today for a strep throat test. Contact your nearest office by phone or request an appointment online.