According to the CDC, between 11,000 and 24,000 Americans fall ill to strep throat every year. Strep throat is a very common infection, but how does one get it?
Our team at AFC Urgent Care Cleveland has the answers you’re looking for, so read on.
What Causes Strep Throat?
Strep throat is caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pyogenes, or group A Streptococcus (also known as group A strep, or GAS). The most common way to get strep throat is by touching your eyes, nose or mouth after being exposed to these bacteria.
Strep throat can also be spread by coughing, sneezing and when you share food or drink with someone who’s infected. If you aren’t sure whether or not you have strep throat, we’ve listed some of its common symptoms below.
Common Strep Throat Symptoms
- A sudden fever, especially if it’s 101˚F or higher
- A sore, red throat with white patches
- A headache
- A loss of appetite
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Trouble swallowing
What If I Just Have a Sore Throat?
It’s possible, but there is one symptom to be on the lookout for: a cough. While a sore throat is a common symptom of both strep throat and a cold virus, a cough is only a symptom of a cold.
If you have a painful sore throat without a cough, visit your doctor. If your doctor suspects strep throat, he or she will likely perform a rapid strep test to confirm his or her diagnosis. Strep tests provide reliable results and aren’t usually painful.
Ways to Tell If Your Sickness Is a Cold
- Runny nose
- Red or watery eyes
Strep throat can cause lots of throat discomfort and is quite contagious. If you suspect that you have strep throat, our team at AFC Urgent Care Cleveland is here for you, so don’t hesitate to visit us!