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Facts About Strep Throat

There are many questions about what strep throat is, what its symptoms are, and how it is treated. To help answer these questions, here are some basic facts about strep throat:
  • It is not a viral infection; it is caused by specific bacteria called group A streptococcus bacteria (also known as GAS or Streptococcus pyogenes).
  • Strep throat most often affects children between the ages of 5 and 15.
  • A person with strep throat usually has at least two out of four of the following:
    • A red and painful throat that begins suddenly
    • A fever above 101ºF (38.3ºC)
    • Red and enlarged tonsils -- there may also be white patches of pus on the tonsils or in the throat
    • Tender or swollen lymph glands in the neck.
  • A cough and/or runny nose do not usually occur in someone with strep throat.
  • It is uncommon for someone with strep throat to have a sore throat for more than one week.
  • A person is no longer contagious after they have been on antibiotics for 24 hours.
(For more strep throat facts, click Strep Throat. This article provides a complete overview of this throat infection, including information on how it is diagnosed, how common it is, and how to prevent it.)
A Dose of Reassurance for Parents of Picky Eaters
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