10 Signs of Strep

By james
Reviewed: Dr. Gromatzky
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Strep is a relatively common infection that is caused by the streptococcus bacteria. It most commonly occurs in young children but it can also affect adults of all ages. Treatment is usually achieved with antibiotics, but the condition can develop into scarlet fever so it should be treated as potentially serious.

Although strep can be treated, it can still cause some very unwelcome symptoms. The symptoms are likely to last for around 3 to 7 days, although many patients will make a full recovery in as little as 24 hours after treatment has started.

Here’s a look at some of the signs of strep.

Sign #1: Fever

The presence of any infection in the body has the potential to be very dangerous to us. As such, the body steps up to deal with the problem as soon as an infection is detected. Our immune system has a selection of weapons to use in its armory, one of which is to make the body a very hostile place for pathogens.

The body achieves this by making the body too hot for pathogens to be comfortable. This can kill them, or at least slow down their progress. In the case of strep, the fever is likely to come on quickly and may not be accompanied by chills, like fevers usually are.


Sign #2: Swollen Tonsils

Located at the back of the mouth on either side of the throat are small glands known as the tonsils. These glands have the job of helping to trap and deal with bacteria, and other pathogens, to prevent them from doing harm elsewhere. As such, the tonsils can easily become overloaded when there is an infection present.

In addition to becoming swollen, the tonsils are also likely to become noticeably redder than usual. Yellow/white spots will also appear and there may also be pus visible. This is often mistaken for tonsillitis, which has some very similar symptoms, and a test is often needed to reach the correct diagnosis.

Sign #3: A Sore Throat

A sore throat is a very common symptom and is often the first thing people notice when they are ill. There are numerous potential causes, one of which is strep throat. The pain can be so severe that it is difficult to swallow and eating can be difficult for the patient.

Because a sore throat is so common, it may be mistaken for something else to begin with, especially considering that the other symptoms can take a few days to appear. In addition to the pain, patients will also often complain that their throat feels itchy. Medication is available that can help soothe the pain while the underlying cause is being treated.


Sign #4: Muscle Pain

As mentioned, our natural defenses get to work straightaway when an infection is discovered in the body. There are different approaches the body will take, and chemical warfare is one of them. The right chemicals are deadly to certain pathogens, but they can come with unwelcome side effects.

The chemicals used to attack the invaders can also attack our own bodies cells. This is what results in the pain that we feel and it can also affect the joints. Medication can help to soothe the symptoms while the underlying cause is being dealt with, and the pain should disappear completely once the strep has been successfully cured.

Sign #5: Rash

Rashes are another fairly common symptom that many people will experience. They are often caused by something that comes into contact with the skin, such as an allergen or irritating chemicals or fabrics. They can also be caused internally by pathogens and similar. As such, a rash will sometimes accompany strep throat.

The rash that is associated with strep throat is a sign of scarlet fever. It occurs as red bumps on the skin, and tends to be found on the torso, chest, and neck. Rashes can be a sign of a wide variety of potentially serious conditions so they should be checked out if you are unsure.


Sign #6: Headache

Whenever we fall ill, there is often a headache not far away. It is not even necessary for us to be ill at all for us to develop a headache, so pinpointing the exact cause can be very difficult at times. Usually, we will often just put it down to one of those things and think no more of it. It is not always something that should be ignored so easily, though.

If your child has a headache, it may well be that they have strep throat. By the time a headache does arise, it is likely to be accompanied by other symptoms, which could at least give more of an idea of what the problem is. A headache should not be ignored if it is too painful or if it lasts for too long.

Sign #7: Swollen Lymph Nodes

The lymph nodes are small glands that are located in the neck. They are an important part of the immune system, and you can almost think of them as outposts that help serve certain parts of the body. They help filter pathogens from the blood, and they also house white blood cells in readiness for when they are needed.

If there is an infection in the body, then the lymph nodes will be expected to get to work dealing with the problem. As they get to work, they can become inflamed as a result of their efforts. This will also cause the neck area to become swollen, and the swelling of the lymph nodes can also often be felt to the touch.


Sign #8: Fatigue

We rarely feel at our best when we are ill. Various symptoms can be painful and unpleasant in other ways and even relatively mild illnesses can be draining to us physically and mentally. We will often feel fatigued all of the time no matter how long we might sleep for and no matter how much we may eat.

Often, as is the case with strep throat, this is down to the immune system working hard to deal with the problem at hand. It might seem as though we are doing little, even staying in bed, but beneath the surface, the body can be working very hard indeed. This is often very tiring, but we will usually regain our strength once the illness has been dealt with.

Sign #9: Red Spots on Throat

Whenever we are ill, it is quite normal for medical professionals to want to take a look inside our mouths. This is because the inside of our mouths can tell them so much about our health and possible give away signs as to what the problem is. Doing so will often give away a rather tell-tale sign that the problem at hand is strep throat.

In addition to swollen tonsils, the back of a strep patient’s throat will sometimes have small red dots. The tongue will also sometimes be gray and furry, and the uvula can be swollen.

Sign #10: Stomach Pain

A problem in one part of the body can sometimes cause problems in other parts of the body. This is often the case in strep throat as it can, but not always, lead to stomach problems. This might sometimes lead to a misdiagnosis, although other symptoms should be present at this point that will help ensure that does not happen.

In addition to stomach pain, the patient can also feel nauseous and they can also vomit. Vomiting can be very painful for them if they already have a sore throat. In some cases, it can also lead to dehydration, so the patient should be monitored closely.


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