Sore throat, strep throat and tonsillitis are some of the common throat problems that afflict all people from time to time. These terms are also used interchangeably while discussing throat problems. However there are some clinical differences among these conditions. Strep throat is caused due to infection by the strep bacteria. This is a contagious condition and results in several strep throat symptoms. These symptoms tend to begin in a period of 1 to 4 days after a person gets the infection.
The strep throat symptoms tend to start off with inflammation of the throat as well as the nearby structures. The throat in case of a strep throat infection tends to become red as well as swollen. White patches are also visible on back side of throat as well as tonsils. Such white patches are suggestive of presence of pus. Other symptoms that may be present include swelling in the lymph nodes on side of neck. These lymph nodes are also tender to touch. In case of strep throat infection, patient also tends to get rapid as well as long lasting fever. The fever may be as high as 101F or even more and may last for more than 48 hours.
The strep throat symptoms may not include typical cold symptoms like running nose, coughing and sneezing. The roof of the mouth may also have bright red or dark red spots. In some cases the strep throat infection may also be accompanied with other symptoms like headache, painful swallowing, difficulty in breathing, abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea and rash.
The strep throat symptoms tend to vary depending on the patients age. Among infants, the symptoms include a thick and yellow or green drainage from nose and this may be accompanied with low grade fever, decrease in appetite and general irritability. The symptoms among toddlers may include soreness in throat, problems in swallowing, general crankiness, swelling in lymph nodes in the jaw. Among adolescents, the illness may be accompanied with high fever, painful throat, problems in swallowing etc. Strep throat infection among adults may sometimes be accompanied with mild symptoms which may make detection of the illness difficult.
While diagnosing a strep throat infection, the associated strep throat symptoms should be kept in mind. At times it is possible that people having no knowledge of strep throat infection may misdiagnose it as a common cold infection. However it is important to understand that with strep throat infection, common cold symptoms like coughing or sneezing are not present.
Strep throat symptoms accompanied with rash which is rough to touch can be a cause for concern and signal towards possible scarlet fever. It is therefore important to seek prompt medical attention if the infection is accompanied with stomach ache, vomiting and extreme tiredness. The infection can spread through activities like coughing, shaking hands with infected individuals and sneezing. It is therefore important to teach children the importance of practicing good hygiene including washing hands. The diagnosis of strep throat infection can be done based on the symptoms along with a rapid strep test. Using a cotton swab, the doctor can collect a sample of the fluids in the throat. The treatment for strep throat infection includes a 10 days antibiotic course.