Strep throat is a common, highly contagious illness that people may encounter during any season, and especially during these winter months. The only effective treatment is antibiotics, which is why it is important to find out whether or not the sore throat is in fact due to the strep bacteria and not a virus. In fact, sore throats are more often caused by viral infections.
The first step to diagnosing your sore throat is a quick check of the symptoms. The most common symptoms of strep throat are:
· A sudden, severe sore throat,
· Pain while swallowing,
· Fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit
· Swollen tonsils and\or lymph nodes
· White or yellow spots on the back of a very red throat
Less common symptoms include headaches, stomach pains\nausea, a skin rash, lack of appetite and body aches.
If these symptoms are accompanied by cold symptoms like coughing, sneezing or a stuffed\runny nose, the infection is likely viral and not bacterial.
Strep is highly contagious and can be transferred through the air, and symptoms will appear two to five days after the initial infection.