Strep Throat

What is Strep Throat?

Strep throat is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation and pain in the throat. It is caused by Group A Streptococcus bacteria and can affect children and adults of all ages. The strep bacteria can be spread between individuals by sneezing, coughing, or contact with infected saliva through ways like sharing utensils.

Symptoms of Strep Throat

Strep throat can easily be confused with other causes of sore throats. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you may have strep:

  • A sudden sore throat
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • A fever of 101°F or higher
  • Red and swollen tonsils
  • Headache, nausea or vomiting
  • Body aches or rashes

Diagnosing Strep Throat

To determine whether or not you have strep throat, your doctor will perform a thorough examination of your throat and check for signs of inflammation. Your doctor may also check your neck for swollen lymph nodes and ask about other symptoms. If your doctor suspects you have strep throat, they may also do a rapid strep test in the office. This test determines whether your sore throat is caused by a strep infection or another type of bacteria or germ. Your doctor swabs the back of your throat with a long cotton swab to collect a sample.

At the Medical Center of Marin, we’re able to quickly test this sample on-site to determine whether you are suffering from strep throat or some similar condition.

Treating Strep Throat

Strep throat treatment usually consists of antibiotics to kill the bacteria and cure the infection. Your urgent care doctor might also recommend gargling or rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash or warm saltwater. This will help soothe your throat and promote healing while you wait for the antibiotics to work. Analgesic pain relievers can help lower your fever and diminish your headache, but you’ll also need to drink plenty of fluids to combat the dehydration from fever.