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Strep Throat: Everything You Need to Know

Andrew Bellingham

Andrew Bellingham

Pharmacist | 20+ Years | BPharm | Dip Clin Pharm

What is Strep Throat?

Strep Throat, also known as Strep A, is a common bacterial infection that affects the throat and can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms. It is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes, also known as Group A Streptococcus.

Symptoms of Strep Throat

If you have strep throat, you may experience a range of symptoms that can range from mild to severe.

Some of the most common symptoms of strep throat include:

  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Red and swollen tonsils
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • White patches on the tonsils or throat

It’s important to note that you can have many of these symptoms and not have strep throat, as the symptoms are the same caused by some viral infections and other illnesses.

Causes of Strep Throat

Strep throat infections are spread by close contact with an infected person. It can be transmitted by coughs & sneezes, sharing food, or having contact with surfaces or objects contaminated with the bacteria.

It is most commonly seen in children and adolescents, but can affect people of all ages.

Some risk factors may include:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Living in close quarters, such as a dormitory
  • Viral infections, such as cold or flu

Strep throat is generally more severe than a sore throat caused by a viral infection, and it is important to seek medical attention if you think you or your child may have the illness.

Treatment for Strep Throat

Strep throat is typically treated with antibiotics.

It is important to take the full course of antibiotics as prescribed by your healthcare professional, even if your symptoms improve, to ensure that the infection is completely eliminated.

In addition to antibiotics, here are several things you can do at home to help alleviate the symptoms and speed up your recovery:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Get a lot of rest
  • Gargle warm salt water to help reduce swelling and soothe your throat
  • Use over-the-counter pain relievers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen

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