A throat infection caused by the group A streptococcus bacteria, strep throat is worrisome on two counts: it is highly contagious, and it can lead to serious complications if left untreated, including rheumatic fever and kidney inflammation. Although strep throat can occur in children and adults of any age, it is most common in those aged 5 to 15 years. Usually, the incidence of streptococcal infection increases during the late fall and early spring in places where people are in close contact with each other, such as schools, daycare centers, and offices. Sharing napkins, handkerchiefs, towels, and soft toys can contribute to the spread of the infection. Strep throat can also be passed from one person to another by sharing eating utensils or drinking glasses with people who are showing symptoms of the disease, whether they have been diagnosed yet or not. Because strep throat is so contagious, early diagnosis and speedy treatment is crucial. If you are experiencing the following symptoms, you should get yourself tested for strep throat as soon as possible.
Throat ache is the most widely prevalent symptom associated with strep throat, and it is often the first symptom you'll notice. It causes a feeling of rawness or itchiness at the back of the throat. You may find it difficult to swallow or speak loudly on account of the pain. Although this is the most distinctive symptom of strep throat, it is hardly an uncommon condition and may be caused by several other diseases. Thus, in the early stages of the infection when a sore throat is among the only symptoms you are experiencing, your doctor may not be able to provide an accurate diagnosis during your first visit. As more symptoms begin to appear, detection becomes easier and more specific, making the infection easier to diagnose successfully.
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