Strep throat

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Updated: 1/14/2003 2:30 pm
Strep throat is a bacterial infection caused by an organism called Group A Streptococcus (strep-toe-COCK-us). Anyone can get strep throat, but it's most common among children of school age. Typical symptoms are a fever of 100 degrees or more, a sore throat that lasts for over three days, white spots on the tonsils, and swollen neck glands. Younger children may also vomit or feel nauseous. However, some people can carry the disease without getting sick. Strep throat is usually transmitted through droplets from coughs or sneezes. Occasionally, contaminated food can be a source of infection, but this is rare. To avoid spreading strep throat, always cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and wash your hands afterward. Make sure your hands are clean before touching food, and see a doctor right away if you develop symptoms. A throat culture is used to detect strep throat, which is then treated with antibiotics. Prompt care is vital, because strep throat can progress to serious illnesses like rheumatic fever and kidney disease. Be sure to take the full course of prescribed medicine, get extra sleep, and drink lots of water or non-caffeinated beverages. For more information on strep throat, consult a health care provider.

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