Doctor's Notes on Strep Throat Symptoms in Children and Adults
Strep throat is an infection of the throat by strep bacteria. Typical signs and symptoms are fever, swollen and tender neck lymph nodes, whitish patches on the tonsils and throat. Other symptoms may include headache, soreness or painful swallowing, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, red and swollen palate and sometimes a diffuse rash. The signs and symptoms may vary according to age and may also have the following:
- Infants: yellow or greenish nasal discharge, low fever, irritable, fussy, decreased appetite
- Children (ages 1-3 years): poor appetite, swollen glands beneath the jaws, crankiness
- Older children and adolescents: feel awful, high fevers, very painful swallowing, and pus production
- Adults: usually much milder symptoms; only some individuals with severe pain and difficulty swallowing
In children and teens mainly, a toxin produced by strep bacteria may produce a rash known as scarlet fever, scarlet colored goose-bumps on sunburned-like skin. It can start on the face in 12-24 hours after fever develops and may last a few days.
What Are the Treatments for Strep Throat?
The treatments consist of doing nothing, treating discomfort and using antibiotics. The treatments include:
- Do nothing: Many infections self-resolve in about 2-7 days.
- Treat discomfort: Use acetaminophen or ibuprofen (do not use aspirin in children) and throat lozenges (not in young children).
- Antibiotics, oral (recommended by some doctors to prevent complications like rheumatic fever, post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis, and others)
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Strep ThroatStrep throat is a disease caused by infection with streptococcal bacteria. Strep throat is contagious. Strep throat symptoms include fever, pain, redness, and swelling of the throat and tonsils, swollen lymph nodes, white or yellow patches on the back of the throat. Treatment for strep throat includes home remedies to sooth symptoms such as throat lozenges, OTC medications, herbal teas to sooth the throat, and hydration. Medical treatment for strep throat includes antibiotics to prevent complications.
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What Does the Beginning of Strep Throat Look Like?Strep throat is a bacterial infection that usually starts with a sore throat and swollen tonsils, often streaked with white pus and accompanied by tiny red dots in the mouth and throat.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.