Natural Health Remedies for You

Strep Throat Signs and Symptoms

This pages focuses on strep throat signs and symptoms, as well as the cause of strep throat. For information on natural home remedies for strep throat, please visit this page.

Strep throat refers to a contagious bacterial throat infection that can make your throat irritated and inflammed, resulting in a sore and scratchy throat.

Not all sore throats are the result of strep throat - in fact, most sore throats are caused by viruses and usually go away on their own. It is important to identify strep throat and receive treatment because there are several strains of strep that can sometimes cause complications if left untreated. Some such complications include:

  • Kidney inflammation
  • Rheumatic fever which can in turn lead to painful and inflamed joints, and even heart valve damage
  • Tonsillitus
  • Sinusitis
  • Ear infection
  • Pneumonia

Strep throat is caused by the Group A streptococcus bacterium. Streptococcal bacteria are highly contagious and can spread through airborne droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Strep throat is most common among school aged children and teens (between the ages of 5 and 15), but it affects people of all ages. Infections of strep throat most commonly occur in late fall, winter, and early spring during the cold and flu season.

Strep Throat Signs and Symptoms

Strep throat signs and symptoms may range from mild to severe, depending on the strain of strep.

Strep throat symptoms usually begin within 2 to 5 days after coming in contact with someone who has a strep infection. Strep throat usually goes away in 3 to 7 days with or without antibiotic treatment.

Strep throat symptoms may include the following:
  • A sudden severe sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Red, swollen tonsils, occasionally with white patches or streaks of pus
  • Tiny red spots on the soft or hard palate
  • Swollen tonsils and tender, swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Skin rash
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and sometimes vomiting (especially in young children)
Of course, there is always the possibility that you or your child may show the above signs and symptoms but in reality the cause is not strep, but may instead be a virus, tonsillitis or other illnesses.


Strep Throat Signs - Do I Have a Cold or Strep Throat?

If you have a sore throat, how can you tell whether you have strep throat or just a cold?

Generally speaking, most sore throats are caused by a viral infection and not strep bacteria. Strep throat usually does not occur with cold symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, or a runny or stuffy nose.

If you have a sore throat accompanied by other cold symptoms, therefore, it is less likely that sore throat is a strep infection.


Strep Throat Signs and Symptoms - When to See a Doctor

See a doctor right away if you have:
  • A sore throat that lasts for over 2 days and without any cold symptoms such as runny nose
  • A sore throat accompanied by tender, swollen lymph nodes
  • A rash
  • A fever higher than 101°F (38°C)
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
Also, as long as three weeks after a strep infection and all the strep throat signs have subsided, if you start to develop a fever, or pain/swelling in the joints, a rash, or shortness of breath, you should see a doctor immediately because you may have developed rheumatic fever - a complication caused by strep throat.

Related Topics

Home Remedies for Strep Throat
Causes of Sore Throat

References ( (

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