Strep Throat Definition

As a type of throat infection, strep throat most often affects children between the ages of 5 and 15. Although people often get a sore throat, a throat infection is identified and defined as strep throat when it is caused by a specific type of bacteria known as group A streptococcus bacteria (also known as GAS or Streptococcus pyogenes).
 
Symptoms can include fever, white patches of pus on the back of the throat, and a red and painful throat that begins suddenly. A cough and/or runny nose do not usually occur in someone with strep throat. It is also uncommon for someone with strep throat to have a sore throat for more than one week.
 
Treatment typically involves antibiotics. For adults, the antibiotic of choice for treating strep throat is penicillin, while children are usually prescribed amoxicillin. Within 24 hours of starting antibiotics, a person's temperature should drop. After two or three days, other symptoms of strep throat should start to improve.
 
(Click Strep Throat for a more in-depth definition of this throat infection. This article includes information on how it is diagnosed, how common it is among adults and children, and how to prevent it.)
 
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