Strep throat is condition caused by bacteria known as streptococci. Many confuse a sore throat with strep however; sore throats are usually the cause of a viral infection rather than strep bacteria. An easy way to tell the difference between a sore throat and strep throat is the symptoms. If you have cold like symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, or runny nose then you most likely do not have strep throat.
If you have symptoms such as pain when you swallow, a fever over 101, swollen tonsils, or spots at the back of a bright red throat then you most likely have strep. Headaches and belly pains are also common. Strep throat is contagious and can be passed from person to person through coughs or sneezes. It usually takes 2 to 5 days for symptoms to occur if you have come in contact with strep.
Strep throat is diagnosed through a physical exam called a throat culture. A throat culture is a swap of a sample of cells from the back of your throat a sample will go in to a special cup called a culture and if strep bacteria grows then the doctor knows you have strep.
To prevent having strep throat avoid people with symptoms of strep and wash your hands often as well. If you have a family member or someone close to you with strep donâ€™t drink from the same cup or share toothbrushes. Prevent spreading it to others by using tissues you can dispose of and do not sneeze or cough on others. Strep throat will usually go away in 3 to 7 days.Using antibiotics can shorten the time that you are contagious. It is a good idea to stay home and rest away from public places until 24 hours after you have started antibiotics.