Strep Throat: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments


Strep throat infections are a source of discomfort and sleepless nights for many children. If you or your child displays the symptoms of strep throat, prompt medical attention can ensure that the infection is treated quickly and does not spread to other members of the household. Once you arrive at our practice, a skilled member of our team can quickly diagnose the cause and if a bacterial infection is present, prescribe effective antibiotic treatments. For more than 25 years, patients from Owings Mills, Westminster, and greater Baltimore, MD, have trusted Chesapeake Ear Nose & Throat to help them return to their daily routines.

Man holding throat

Difficulty swallowing and a painful, scratchy throat are hallmark symptoms of strep throat.

What Causes Strep Throat?

While viruses are often to blame for colds, flus, and even sore throats, strep throat results from a bacterial infection of the throat and tonsils. This is one reason why an ENT doctor is uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat this ailment. During your visit to our medical practice, one of our doctors will look for signs of infection from the bacteria group Astreptococcus, which is also known as Streptococcus pyogenes.

A Highly Contagious Condition

Strep throat is spread through contact with someone who is sick. In some instances, individuals can spread the bacterial infection even if they do not exhibit symptoms of strep throat. These asymptomatic individuals are known as carriers.

Strep throat is considered highly contagious. The infection can spread through the air where it is breathed in by nearby children and adults. Like other infections, it spreads through close contact. Anyone who comes into contact with an object that contains saliva from an infected individual can contract the infection. Prompt treatment at our medical practice can alleviate symptoms quickly while lowering the risk of the infection spreading.

Strep Throat Symptoms

Once an individual comes into contact with Astreptococcus, it can take two to five days for the symptoms to manifest. Strep throat is a common, mild form of infection, but it can be painful for individuals who are stricken with it. One common feature of strep throat is that the symptoms advance quickly. Individuals with this infection may feel fine in the morning and be bed-ridden by that afternoon.

Symptoms of strep throat include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Pain while swallowing
  • Fever of 101 degrees or higher
  • Swollen, red tonsils
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Vomiting (especially in children)
  • Nausea

One risk factor for strep throat is age and children ages five to 15 are at the highest risk of developing this infection. Likewise, adults who are near children in this age group are at an elevated risk of contracting Astreptococcus. Infectious diseases tend to spread in areas where large groups gather, like daycare facilities, schools, and churches.

How Is Strep Throat Treated?

Before antibiotics can be prescribed, one of our doctors will determine if you or your child has strep throat. This can be done with either a rapid strep test or throat culture. This test will be performed while you are being examined at our practice. A rapid strep test is completed by testing a swab once it has been placed on the back of the throat.

For more than 25 years, patients have trusted Chesapeake Ear Nose & Throat to relieve the symptoms of strep throat and other common conditions.

If the test is negative but your doctor still suspects strep throat may be present, a more comprehensive test known as a throat culture swab can be performed. The test takes longer, but it can test for strains of bacteria that a rapid strep test can miss. Once you have been diagnosed with strep throat, you will be prescribed antibiotics. Penicillin or amoxicillin are often recommended for the first round of treatments. Once the antibiotics are administered, patients can expect to begin feeling better within a day or two. You will be given special directions on when to take the medications.

Antibiotics are proven to:

  • Lower the duration of your infection
  • Alleviate unpleasant symptoms
  • Help to prevent the infection from spreading to others
  • Lower the risk of complications

Find Relief for a Painful, Scratchy Throat

If you or your child exhibit symptoms of strep throat, prompt treatment can alleviate symptoms of the infection while lowering the risk that the infection will spread. To schedule an examination, please contact our office online or call (410) 356-2626.