As winter starts to turn to spring, one of the main upper respiratory illnesses you may still be prone to is strep throat, a bacterial infection that requires antibiotics to fully treat. While a sore throat can be an indicator of several upper respiratory infections, strep throat has symptoms specific to the infection. Learning the symptoms of strep allows you to go to the doctor sooner for treatment.
What is strep throat?
Strep throat is a bacterial infection, which makes it different from a routine virus. Caused by a virus called Group A strep, the infection is more common in younger children but anyone can be vulnerable to it. Symptoms are sudden, which makes it different from most upper respiratory infections with some leadup. Symptoms may include:
- Rapid sore throat
- White patches or patches of pus and swelling near the tonsils
- Small red dots along the back of the roof of your mouth
- Difficulty or pain while swallowing
- Swollen glands
Young children may exhibit further symptoms including headache, nausea, stomach cramps and fever.
How long does strep throat last?
After contracting the infection, strep throat has an incubation period of up to five days when it is at its highest level of contagion. If you are in close contact with someone who has developed strep throat, including sharing a home, dormitory, office, classroom or daycare facility, you may be more vulnerable to catching it. You may not develop symptoms immediately, but they will quickly appear once they have onset.
How can I prevent catching strep throat?
You can avoid strep throat by taking many of the same precautions you take to avoid other illnesses. You should wash your hands regularly throughout the day with soap and hot water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds. If you are having trouble getting the timing down or do not know how long 20 seconds can last, sing Happy Birthday! This will also help you teach young children how to wash their hands in order to kill all germs. Whenever you feel a cough or sneeze coming on, make sure you cover your mouth and nose by directing it into the crook of your elbow. This contains germs without infecting your hands. If someone around you is sick, do not share cups or utensils without making sure they are fully washed.
When should I visit urgent care with symptoms of strep throat?
You should visit urgent care for antibiotics to treat your strep throat if your strep throat has not improved in 48 hours or you experience difficulty or pain while breathing or swallowing. You should also visit if you have a fever that will not break or experience swelling in your glands or lymph nodes.
Strep Throat Treatment in Warrington & Hartsville, PA
If you begin to develop symptoms of strep throat, visit AFC Urgent Care Warrington for walk-in diagnosis and treatment. Our staff will be able to perform a rapid strep test with nearly immediate results in our on-site lab. Most major insurance plans are accepted. For questions please call 215-874-3209.