Symptoms Of Strep Throat You Shouldn't Ignore

Strep throat is a bacterial infection that causes your throat to feel sore and itchy (via Mayo Clinic). It is a common infection in children, but it can affect people of all ages. Strep throat is caused by streptococcal bacteria. It is highly contagious and can spread from person to person when someone with the infection coughs or sneezes or shares foods or drinks. The bacteria can also live on surfaces so it's possible to touch a contaminated object or surface and transfer the germ to your nose, mouth, or eyes.

Symptoms of strep throat include throat pain that typically comes on suddenly, red or swollen tonsils, painful swallowing, small red spots on the back of the roof of the mouth, headache, nausea, vomiting, and body aches (via Healthline).

You should call your doctor if you or your child has a sore throat accompanied by tender, swollen lymph nodes or a rash, a sore throat that lasts longer than 48 hours, fever, or difficulty breathing or swallowing. If you or your child has been diagnosed with strep and it hasn't improved after taking antibiotics for 48 hours, you should also contact your doctor.

How to treat and prevent strep throat

Strep throat is typically treated with a course of antibiotics (via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). This medication will help improve symptoms, decrease how long a person is sick, prevent bacteria from spreading to others, and prevent serious complications like rheumatic fever.

Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help ease throat pain and fever. It's also important to get plenty of rest and to stay hydrated. Eating foods that are easy to swallow like applesauce, mashed potatoes, soft fruits, soups, broths, and soft-cooked eggs will also be easier on your throat (via Mayo Clinic).

The best way to prevent infections like strep throat is with good basic hygiene. Wash your hands frequently and teach children to wash hands properly using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Also, teach children not to share personal items like glasses or utensils and to cover their mouth with their elbow or a tissue when they cough or sneeze.