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Many of us associate a sore throat with the wintertime, when cold and flu cases are at their peak. But, unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to experience a sore throat during the warmer months.
In fact, a full schedule of summertime activities might be part of the problem. Consistently missing out on a full night’s sleep prevents the body from recharging fully, often leaving the immune system at a disadvantage.
This disadvantage makes us more susceptible to viruses that would normally be fought off without medication, making that sore throat more than just an inconvenience.
Strep throat is a common infection in children, teens and young adults that can be easily passed between friends and family members. If you suspect strep when your child is dealing with a stubborn sore, scratchy throat, here’s what you need to know.
About Strep Throat
Strep is an infection caused by streptococcal bacteria, which most commonly affects the throat. The infection can lead to inflammation, pain, fever, chills, loss of appetite, swollen lymph nodes and trouble swallowing. It is extremely contagious and can be passed through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids, as well as shared foods or surfaces. Symptoms usually appear within five days of coming into contact with the bacteria and are most common in children and teens.
Signs it’s More than Sore
If you suspect strep throat, look for the following signs:
- The age of the patient matters. Strep throat is most common in children and teens, though it is possible at any age. Adults with regular contact with children are also at an increased risk.
- Tonsil irregularities, including red, swollen tonsils with pockets of white pus, are a telltale sign of strep throat.
- Swollen lymph nodes at the front of the neck are common.
- Symptoms like a cough, chills, runny nose and pink eye are more commonly associated with a cold or virus.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Your doctor will confirm a strep throat diagnosis using an instant test kit. The test requires only a swab to scan saliva for the streptococcal bacteria.
Treatment with an antibiotic is usually necessary to combat the infection, but it works quickly. With antibiotics, most will begin to feel relief in just two to five days.