Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the tissues in the back of the throat (pharynx) and the tonsils or adenoids. The tissues become irritated and inflamed, causing a sudden, severe sore throat.
Symptoms of strep throat include a sore throat with:
In children, strep throat may also cause body aches, headache, stomachache, nausea, vomiting, or listlessness. Strep throat usually does not occur with cold symptoms, such as sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, or cough.
Even though strep throat usually goes away on its own in a few days, it is treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics may not make you well faster. But they shorten the time you are able to spread the disease to others. Antibiotics also lower the risk of the infection spreading to other parts of your body.
Last Revised: July 27, 2010
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Donald R. Mintz, MD - Otolaryngology
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