Streptococcal pharyngitis or “strep throat” occurs when a certain type of bacterial infection causes the tissues at the back of your mouth and throat to become inflamed, irritated and sore. It is caused by a bacteria called group A streptococcus or GAS. Unlike most other common causes of sore throat, strep throat is treated with a course of antibiotics to fight the infection and prevent rare complications.
WHO IS AT RISK?
Strep throat can occur at any age but is most common among children and young adults. Infection rates peak during the late fall, winter and early spring. Strep throat is contagious and can be spread amongst individuals having close contact such as family members or those in a school or daycare setting.
STREP THROAT SYMPTOMS
The most frequently reported symptoms of strep throat include throat pain, red swollen tonsils, whitish patches at the back of the throat, pain or difficulty with swallowing, swollen tender lymph nodes (glands) in the neck and fever. Strep throat can sometimes cause a rash and upset stomach or nausea.
DIAGNOSIS AND STREP THROAT TREATMENT
Strep throat is generally diagnosed when your doctor performs a medical history and examination. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between viral sore throats and strep throat just based on symptoms and examination findings. In these cases your doctor may perform a throat swab that can detect if the strep bacteria is present.
When a sore throat is diagnosed as strep throat a course of antibiotics is prescribed to treat the infection. Sometimes over the counter medications are given to help with pain and fever. Importantly, aspirin should not be given to children and adolescents with suspected strep throat as it may lead to a potentially serious illness called Reye’s syndrome.
HOW PLUSHCARE WORKS
At PlushCare all of our visits are through a simple and convenient phone or video consultation. Our doctors are able to help diagnose the cause of a sore throat and recommend a treatment course. If appropriate, we can provide a prescription for medications such as antibiotics. If the doctor prescribes a medication, the prescription will be sent electronically to the pharmacy of your choice for immediate pick-up.