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Strep Throat (cont.)

Is Strep Throat Contagious?

Strep throat is a contagious illness that is spread from person-to-person. It is usually transmitted by close contact with the saliva or nasal secretions from an infected individual, typically in the form of airborne respiratory droplets. For this reason, it is frequently seen in situations where individuals are in close proximity to each other, as in schools, college campuses, military barracks, day care centers, and family households.

Food-borne outbreaks leading to strep throat are a very uncommon mode of transmission.

When to Seek Medical Care

Individuals with a sore throat, especially if accompanied by fever or other associated symptoms, should consider consulting a healthcare professional. It is often too difficult to know definitively whether or not strep throat is present without a professional evaluation. Furthermore, there are other serious causes of sore throat that may require alternative treatments (for example, a peritonsillar abscess). Finally, consider seeking medical advice if a person has been treated for strep throat and has not improved within 4 to 5 days.

If a person has a sore throat or if they have been diagnosed with strep throat, and have any of the following signs or symptoms, they should immediately seek care in a hospital's emergency department:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty or inability to swallow food or liquid
  • Unable to open the mouth
  • Unable to swallow saliva, or drooling
  • Severe throat pain
  • Making noises during breathing
  • Bleeding in the throat
  • Swelling or redness of the neck

Although some of these signs and symptoms may be related to a strep throat infection, they can also be indicators of other emergent conditions such as peritonsillar abscess, epiglottitis, tracheitis, or retropharyngeal abscess.

Strep Throat Pictures

Picture 1: Strep throat.
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Media type: Photo

Picture 2: Streptococcal bacteria are grown or tested in the laboratory to confirm the diagnosis. The discoloration of the medium is characteristic of this bacteria.
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Media type: Photo

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/9/2015
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Patient Comments & Reviews

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Strep Throat - Experience

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

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