Strep throat is a bacterial infection in the throat that causes the area to become sore and inflamed. Symptoms of strep throat include quick onset throat pain, painful swallowing, tonsils that are red and swollen, white patches in the throat, small red spots on the throat or the back of the hard palate, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, headache, fever, rash, nausea, vomiting, and body aches. Diagnosis of strep throat is made with the use of physical examination, rapid antigen test, and throat culture. An individual with strep throat may be treated with antibiotic medications to kill the causative bacteria along with other medications to relieve symptoms. These medications include ibuprofen, acetylsalicylic acid, and acetaminophen.
Group A Streptococcus
An individual gets strep throat when they contract a certain bacterial infection in their tonsils and throat. This infection is due to the colonization of a type of bacteria referred to as group A streptococcus. Group A streptococcus can also cause an individual to develop other infections such as cellulitis, impetigo, toxic shock syndrome, and necrotizing fasciitis. Group A streptococcus bacteria that cause strep throat have an incubation period of between two and five days.
An individual can pick up this type of bacteria from another individual who is infected or a carrier. Group A streptococcus bacteria is spread from one individual to another through close physical contact. Microscopic droplets of saliva are expelled into the air for another person to breathe or come in contact with when an infected individual sneezes or coughs. Strep throat can develop in an individual who shares utensils and drinking containers with another person who has strep throat.