What is pharyngitis?

strep throat is an infection caused by group A Streptococcus germ(Streptococcus pyogenes). It causes sore throat and fever. Infections spread easily (contagious). Strep throat is common in children, but anyone can get it.

Doctors can use some tests to diagnose strep throat. Sometimes, providers can tell if a person has strep throat based on their signs and symptoms, such as a swollen throat, a swollen uvula, or a swollen tonsils.

Strep throat can be treated with a prescription for antibiotics. Medications and home remedies can also help people cope with symptoms until the infection clears. Although uncommon, strep throat can lead to serious complications.

This article will discuss what strep throat is and how to get it. You’ll also learn how your doctor can tell if you have strep throat and what treatments you may need. There are also things you can do to prevent strep throat.

sore throat symptoms

If you have strep throat, you will usually start feeling sick two to five days after you have been exposed to the bacteria that causes the infection. Strep throat has a variety of symptoms, but the most common is a sore throat.

Other symptoms of strep throat are:

  • Difficulty swallowing or pain when swallowing (may also be felt in the ear on the same side)
  • Fever (101° F or higher)
  • Red, swollen tonsils that may have white patches or streaks of pus
  • small red spots on the roof of the mouth (called petechiae)
  • swollen lymph nodes in front of neck
  • chills
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • stomach ache

Streptococcal vs. Non-Streptococcal Sore Throat

Strep throat isn’t the only infection that can cause a sore throat. In fact, viral diseases that cause sore throats are more common than strep throat.

There are several different ways strep throat can be caused by a sore throat from a viral infection. For example, strep throat may have a sudden fever. Sore throats from viral infections tend to develop gradually.

If you have strep throat, you usually don’t cough. A viral sore throat is more likely to accompany a cough, as well as other cold symptoms such as:

  • runny nose
  • hoarse voice
  • an eye infection commonly called “pink eye” (conjunctivitis)


The main symptom of strep throat is a sore throat. It may be painful to swallow. The pain may start suddenly and be accompanied by fever and chills. Your tonsils may be red and swollen. They may also have white streaks or pus. You may also have other symptoms, such as fatigue and headaches.

Symptoms of sore throat


Strep throat spread in saliva or other body fluids with group A Streptococcus bacteria in it. If someone with strep bacteria coughs or sneezes around you, it can expose you to the bacteria. If you touch a person or object with germs on it, you can also pick it up.

Strep throat is very contagious. It can easily spread from one person to another. Some people are more susceptible to strep throat than others, including people with weakened immune systems, people undergoing chemotherapy, babies, and people who are pregnant.

If someone in your household has strep throat, there are a few things you can do to reduce the chance of infection:

  • Do not share personal items such as towels, drinking glasses, and utensils with sick people.
  • Wash clothes and bedding in hot water.
  • Keep your hands clean (which means washing your hands properly and often).


If you have strep throat, the bacteria that make you sick are in your saliva and other bodily fluids. If you cough or sneeze, you can easily spread germs to those around you. If someone shares a drink with you or touches an object with an infected liquid, they can also get sick.

If someone in your family has strep throat, there are ways to avoid infection. Do not share personal items such as cups or towels with someone who is sick. You can also keep your home clean by washing your clothes and bedding in hot water. You should also wash your hands frequently.

What causes pharyngitis?


Your regular doctor can usually tell if you have strep throat. Throat health specialist doctor (ENT doctor) can also diagnose infection.

A healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and look at your throat and neck. They will look for signs of strep throat, including:

  • Red, swollen, or white patches that look like pus in the throat or tonsils
  • A rash on the body, starting on the neck and chest
  • A red spot on the upper jaw (petechiae)
  • Swollen tonsils (tonsillitis)
  • swollen lymph nodes

Your doctor may do some tests to find out if you have strep throat.

  • The rapid strep test uses a saliva sample from the back of the throat. The results only take a few minutes, but sometimes, they are incorrect. A quick strep test might say you don’t have strep throat, when in fact you do. This is called a false negative test result.
  • A throat culture uses a tissue sample you provide from the back of the throat using a swab. The sample is sent to a lab, where a technician will check to see if bacteria are growing. It takes a few days for the results to come back, but it is considered the most accurate test for strep throat.


Your doctor will ask how you feel and look at your throat. They may do a quick test in the office to see if you have strep throat. However, the test may say you don’t have strep throat when you do (false negative result). A more accurate test called a throat culture looks for bacteria in your throat, but it takes longer to get results.

If a test shows strep in your throat, your doctor can prescribe you an antibiotic to treat it.

How to Diagnose Pharyngitis


Before your doctor decides on treatment, they will want to make sure you don’t have a sore throat for another reason. For example, if you have a viral disease that causes strep throat, it cannot be treated with antibiotics.

However, if you have strep throat, it means you have a bacterial infection. In this case, you will need antibiotics. There are different antibiotics available to treat strep throat, including:

  • amoxicillin
  • penicillin
  • Clindamycin
  • cephalosporin
  • Clarithromycin
  • Azithromycin (called “Z-pack”)

Your doctor will review your medical records and discuss your health with you before deciding which antibiotic to give you. For example, if you are allergic to penicillin, they can prescribe another antibiotic for you.

Sometimes antibiotics are not enough to clear a strep infection. This is called antibiotic resistance. If you are being treated for strep throat and your symptoms do not get better, your doctor will change your treatment plan.

Once you have taken antibiotics for 24 to 48 hours, you cannot pass strep throat to others.

It is important to take antibiotic prescriptions as directed by your doctor. You need to use up all your medicine – even if you start to feel better.

If you stop taking antibiotics too soon, the infection may not clear up. Instead, things could get worse. You can also have serious complications from the infection.

Symptoms of strep throat, such as fever, muscle aches, and headaches, can often be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as ibuprofen. Home remedies like drinking a cold drink or popsicles can also help soothe a sore throat.

Getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, and eating nutritious meals (even if swallowing can be painful) will also help your body recover.


If you have strep throat, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics for you. This drug fights bacteria. You can also use some home remedies, such as cold drinks and over-the-counter pain relievers, to help relieve symptoms. Getting plenty of rest and fluids will also help you recover.

How to treat sore throat


Strep throat usually gets better in about a week, as long as you follow your doctor’s orders. Most people infected with strep do not have any serious side effects or long-term problems with the disease.

Your provider will let you know when you can resume normal activities, such as school or work. Follow your doctor’s instructions, even if you start to feel better soon. This will ensure that you do not spread the infection to others or push yourself too hard until you are fully recovered.

Tell your doctor right away if you stick with your treatment plan and don’t feel better or if you start to feel worse. You may need different treatments to make sure the infection clears and prevent complications.


Your doctor will give you a treatment plan for strep throat. If you follow it, you should feel better in about a week. Tell your doctor right away if you do not feel better or if you feel worse. You may need different treatments.

Can you get scarlet fever after having a strep throat?


Strep throat is a common infection caused by bacteria. The most common symptom is a sore throat. Your tonsils may also be swollen and have pus. Healthcare providers can test for infection by taking a sample from the throat and seeing if bacteria are growing in it.

Since strep throat is caused by bacteria, it can usually be treated with antibiotics. There are also some home remedies and over-the-counter treatments, such as cold drinks and ibuprofen, that may cause symptoms.

Most people recover from strep throat in about a week without any long-term problems. However, if a person stops prescribed treatment too soon, the infection may not get better. They can also develop serious complications.

VigorTip words

Streptococcal strep throat can be a pain in the neck, but if you rest and follow your doctor’s orders, you should return to your normal routine in about a week.

Your doctor may give you antibiotics to clear the infection. You may start to feel better within a few days of taking it, but it is important that you take all the doses that have been given to you.

It’s not common for strep throat to cause serious complications, but it can happen. If you are following your treatment plan and you do not feel better or you start to feel worse, tell your doctor right away.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is strep throat contagious?

    Yes, strep throat is contagious, but after taking antibiotics for 24 to 48 hours, the infection should no longer be contagious. Infections can spread in several ways. Breathing infected airborne particles, touching a contaminated surface and then touching the mouth or nose, and sharing personal items such as toothbrushes or utensils can all make a person sick. Taking antibiotics when necessary and practicing good hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly, are effective ways to prevent the spread of strep throat.

  • How long does strep throat last?

    Many strep throat symptoms last a week. Untreated strep throat can lead to serious complications, including kidney disease, guttate psoriasis (skin disease), abscesses near the tonsils, rheumatic fever, and scarlet fever.

  • What is the best antibiotic for strep throat?

    The best antibiotic for strep throat is different for everyone. Some people have allergic reactions to certain medications, so the most effective options will vary. A medical professional will help choose the best option for each person. Some antibiotics commonly used to treat strep throat include amoxicillin, penicillin, cephalosporins, clindamycin, clarithromycin, and azithromycin.

  • What does strep throat look like?

    Strep throat can cause the tonsils to become red, swollen, and appear as white, pus-filled spots. In addition, small red spots called petechiae appear on the roof of the mouth, the uvula may become swollen, and the lymph nodes in the front of the neck may also swell.

Streptococcal laryngitis and peritonsillar abscesses