Strep Throat Symptoms: Everything You Need to Know 

A woman at a doctor’s office gets her throat swabbed by a masked female doctor.

Strep throat is one of the most common throat-related diagnoses among children between 5 and 10 years old.

In fact, up to 20% of school-aged children may carry the virus without knowing it or showing symptoms. Even with no symptoms, the virus can spread from one person to another through tiny respiratory droplets present in the air.

Although most common in kids, strep throat can infect anyone at any age.

If you are experiencing symptoms consistent with the virus, we encourage you to get tested today to feel better sooner and lower the risk of spreading it to others.

Let’s dive deeper into understanding strep throat, including its symptoms, causes and treatment options.

What Is Strep Throat?

Strep throat is a bacterial infection in the throat and tonsils caused by group A Streptococcus, or group A strep, for short. This group of bacteria lives in the nose and throat and can spread quickly from person to person through semi-close contact.

People who are infected spread the bacteria by tiny respiratory droplets in the air from talking, coughing or sneezing. In rarer cases, strep throat can be spread from infected sores found on the skin.

Strep throat is treated with antibiotics, most commonly penicillin or amoxicillin. Only those with symptoms require antibiotic treatment.

Strep Throat Symptoms

Symptoms of a strep infection typically appear 2 to 5 days after initial bacterial exposure. Although some people don’t experience any symptoms, those with the worst symptoms are the ones who spread it most rapidly.

Symptoms of strep throat include

  • Sore throat
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Red and swollen tonsils
  • Fever
  • White patches or streaks of pus on the back of the mouth or tonsils
  • Tiny, red spots on the roof of the mouth
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck

Other symptoms, especially in children, may include

  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Scarlet fever

How Do I Know if I Have Strep Throat?

A throat swab is used to test for strep throat.

There are two types of swabs:

  1. A rapid test
  2. Throat culture

Both tests check for the presence of strep A bacteria.

While a rapid test provides results in a matter of minutes, a throat culture takes more time, as it requires the verification of group A strep bacteria growing from the cultured swab collection.

Generally speaking, a rapid strep test can provide results in as little as 15 minutes, while a culture takes between 2 to 5 days.

Rapid Strep Throat Testing at Emerald Coast Urgent Care

If you or a loved one are experiencing a sore throat that seems consistent with strep symptoms, you should seek medical evaluation for further diagnosis.

Our compassionate and experienced team at Emerald Coast Urgent Care is here to help seven days a week.

Our on-site lab provides quick and easy strep throat test results so you can get to the bottom of your symptoms sooner and receive the medication you need today.

There is no need for an appointment; simply walk in to get the care you need now.

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