Strep throat is medically known as streptococcal pharyngitis or streptococcal sore throat. It is a contagious infection caused by Group A streptococcal bacteria or GAS. It affects the pharynx, tonsils and possibly the larynx. It is the most common cause of sore throat in school-aged children and teens with peak incidence between 5 to 15 years old. Adults are also prone to be infected with strep throat. What are the signs and symptoms of strep throat in adults?
Strep throat in adults accounts only 5%-10% of all strep throat cases. Studies revealed that strep throat cases are high during late fall and early spring and more widespread during school year where children or people are more in contact and enclosed in small spaces.
Causes of Strep Throat
It should be highlighted that not all sore throat cases are caused by streptococcus species or bacteria. There are certain viruses that can cause sore throat and antibiotics are not effective for this. Viral sore throat actually resolves on its own even without intervention because viruses are self limiting.
Group A streptococcus bacteria is the main cause of strep throat. Specifically, strep throat is caused by streptococcus pyogenes. This bacterium invades the tissues in the pharynx and causes a localized inflammatory reaction. If this bacterium invades the skin, it can cause impetigo. However, there are cases where people carry the bacterium in their skin or throat without showing any symptoms and they are labeled as asymptomatic.
Strep throat is very contagious. It is transferred from one person to the other by direct contact with nasal secretions or saliva of an infected person. Foods infected with streptococcus bacteria can be a way to spread the infection but this is rare. With this in mind, those who have strep throat should stay at home and avoid public places until they are not contagious anymore. Once a person starts taking antibiotics for 24 hours, he/she is not contagious anymore.
Symptoms of Strep Throat
Symptoms associated with strep throat are as follows:
- sore throat
- tonsillar exudates
- enlargement of cervical lymph nodes
- head ache
- body pains
- abdominal pain
- palatial petechiae
Treatment of Strep Throat
Antibiotics are the primary treatment for strep throat. In America, Penicillin V is popularly used while in Europe, Amoxicillin is being used. Whatever type of antibiotic is being prescribed by the physician, one should take the full course of the therapy in order to make sure that the causative agent is fully eradicated and to prevent antibiotic resistance.