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.
It is easy to tell when you have a sore throat or a cold. It is harder to know when you have strep throat. Typically, sore throats are caused by a viral infection and not strep bacteria. Strep throat usually does not occur with cold symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, or a runny or stuffy nose. The more cold symptoms you have, the less likely it is that your sore throat is a strep infection.
In some cases of strep infection, a skin rash develops and spreads over the neck and chest and eventually over the whole body. The rash feels rough like sandpaper. This condition is called scarlet fever. Scarlet fever is treated with antibiotics. This usually leads to a quick recovery. Scarlet fever is not dangerous if treated.