Strep throat is a contagious bacterial infection of the throat and tonsils. The disease is most commonly spread through direct contact and respiratory droplets. If you are concerned about strep throat, or would simply like to know more, your pediatrician can certainly provide you with the information you need. In the meantime, here are some FAQS that can help you get the facts on this contagious infection.
Is strep throat dangerous?
Strep throat is considered to be a mild disease, but left untreated, a strep throat infection may lead to an acute rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever is a serious condition which can affect the heart, joints, brain, and skin. However, it is prevented by properly treating a strep throat infection with antibiotics.
What are the symptoms?
The incubation period for a strep throat is about 2-5 days from exposure. Common symptoms include a sore throat and pain when swallowing, fever, red/swollen tonsils (with white patches or streaks), and swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck. Less common symptoms found in children are vomiting, stomach pain, headache, or rash. While strep throat is considered to be a mild disease, it can be very painful.
How is it diagnosed?
Strep throat is diagnosed by a pediatrician through an examination of the throat. Your provider may also swab your child's throat for an in-house PCR test.
How is strep throat treated?
A strep throat is treated with antibiotics, which will decrease its symptoms, contagiousness, and length of sickness. Taking antibiotics will also prevent serious complications like rheumatic fever.