- Strep throat is a bacterial infection caused by Group A Streptococcus.
- Symptoms of strep throat may include fever, difficulty swallowing, and white patches on the throat.
- Unlike sore throats caused by viruses, strep throat should be treated with antibiotics to fight the bacteria.
It’s not unusual to get a sore throat when cold and flu season strikes, but if your throat feels particularly painful, you might consider whether you’ve got strep throat. A sore throat caused by group A strep bacteria requires a different treatment than one caused by a virus.
Below, we’ll look more closely at the causes and symptoms of strep throat, the best course of treatment, and tips on preventing the illness from spreading.
What Is Strep Throat?
Strep throat is an infection caused by a highly contagious bacteria called Group A Streptococcus, or group A strep. It causes inflammation of the throat and tonsils and may include the following symptoms:
- Painful, burning sensation in the throat
- White patches on the throat and tonsils
- Red spots on the inside upper mouth
- Soreness when swallowing
- Enlarged neck glands or tonsils
- Fever above 101 degrees Fahrenheit
Strep throat symptoms usually appear within 5-days of exposure to group A strep, but some people can be infected and not show signs.