Strep throat is a bacterial infection that can make your throat feel sore and scratchy. Strep throat accounts for only a small portion of sore throats. If untreated, strep throat can cause complications, such as kidney inflammation or rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever can lead to painful and inflamed joints, a specific type of rash or heart valve damage. Strep throat is most common in children, but it affects people of all ages. If you or your child has signs or symptoms of strep throat, see your doctor for prompt testing and treatment.
Common symptoms of strep throat in children and adults include:
- Severe and sudden sore throat without coughing, sneezing, or other cold symptoms.
- Pain or difficulty with swallowing.
- Fever over 101°F (38.3°C). Lower fevers may point to a viral infection and not strep.
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
- White or yellow spots or coating on the throat and tonsils.
- Bright red throat or dark red spots on the roof of the mouth at the back near the throat.
- Swollen tonsils, although this symptom may also be caused by a viral infection.