Strep throat symptoms vary widely from person to person. The infection is caused by the group A streptococcus bacterium and is most common in children ages 5 to 15. Symptoms of strep throat include:
- sore throat
- red throat sometimes with white patches on it
- difficulty swallowing
- swollen lymph nodes
- appetite loss
Less common symptoms that can occur with strep throat include muscle aches, joint stiffness, a bad taste in the mouth, and neck pain. While strep generally does not cause coughing, sneezing or nasal congestion, there are rare occasions when these symptoms do occur.
Because strep throat is caused by a bacteria, it must be treated with an antibiotic. The only way to tell if you have strep throat is by seeing your doctor and having either a rapid strep test or a throat culture. Untreated strep throat can cause serious complications such as scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, or kidney problems. This is why it is so important to see your physician if you have symptoms of strep throat.
Medline Plus. Strep Throat. Accessed: September 15, 2009 from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000639.htm