Did you know? Between 11,000 and 24,000 Americans fall ill from strep throat every year, and many are beginning to feel its effects in our area. But, why? How does a person even get strep throat in the first place?

Our team at AFC Urgent Care Ballantyne has the answers you’re looking for, so read on.

What Causes Strep Throat?

Strep throat is caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pyogenes, or group A Streptococcus (also known as group A strep, or GAS). The most common way to get strep throat is by touching your eyes, nose or mouth after being exposed to these bacteria.

Strep throat can also be spread by coughing, sneezing and when you share food or drink with someone who’s infected. If you aren’t sure whether or not you have strep throat, we’ve listed some of its common symptoms below.

Common Strep Throat Symptoms

  • A sudden fever, especially if it’s 101˚F or higher
  • A sore, red throat with white patches
  • A headache
  • Chills
  • A loss of appetite
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Trouble swallowing

How Do I Know That I Don’t Just Have a Sore Throat?

It’s possible that you could just be experiencing a sore throat, but experts say that there is one symptom that you should be on the lookout for: a cough. While a sore throat is a common symptom of both strep throat and a cold virus, a cough is only a symptom of a cold.

If you have a painful sore throat without a cough, visit your doctor. If your doctor suspects strep throat, he or she will likely perform a rapid strep test to confirm his or her diagnosis. Strep tests provide reliable results and aren’t usually painful.

  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Red or watery eyes
  • Sneezing

Strep throat can cause lots of throat discomfort and is quite contagious. If you suspect that you have strep throat, our team at AFC Urgent Care Ballantyne is here for you, so don’t hesitate to visit us!