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Signs of Strep Throat

If you have a sore throat, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have a strep infection. So what are the signs of strep throat, and how do you know if your sore throat is a strep infection?
 
A person with strep throat usually has at least two out of four of these signs or symptoms:
 
  • 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.
     
If you have strep throat, the signs and symptoms typically improve within two to five days. If you have had a sore throat for more than a week, it is more likely that the infection is caused by a virus, rather than strep bacteria.
 
Other possible symptoms of strep throat include:
 
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • White patches of pus on the tonsils or in the throat
  • Headaches.
     
(Click Strep Throat Symptoms to learn more about this topic. This article outlines specific symptoms in adults, children, and infants, and explains which symptoms would more likely be caused by a viral infection.)
 
A Dose of Reassurance for Parents of Picky Eaters
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