Lots of things can cause a sore through. One cause, especially in children and young adults, is the bacteria that creates strep throat. Streptococcus pyogenes (group A Streptococcus) is the formal name of the bacterium.
Viruses can cause a sore throat too, including:
Other things that might cause your sore throat include:
What Are the Common Symptoms of Strep Throat?
When you have strep, you’ll usually find that your throat is raw and it hurts to swallow. Your sore throat, if it’s caused by strep, will come on very fast, not gradually like many other kinds of sore throats. Other symptoms often include:
A fever of 101 F or higher
Loss of appetite
Swollen lymph nodes on your neck
Really little red spots on the back part of the roof of your mouth
Red and swollen tonsils (two round lumps in the back of your throat -- you may also see white patches on them or elsewhere in your throat)
Pain in your throat
Symptoms in children
Strep throat is more common with kids than adults, and it’s most common with children who are 5-15 years old. If your child has strep throat, they might also have symptoms like:
You might also see a red, sandpaper-like rash that starts in the face and neck area and then spreads to the rest of the body. This could be a sign of scarlet fever. You should call your doctor if you or a child in your care show any symptoms of strep or you see this rash.
What Strep Throat Isn’t
It’s easy to confuse it with other conditions, so it helps to know what it’s not:
It’s not a virus -- viruses can’t be cured with antibiotics.
It’s not life-threatening. But if you leave it untreated, strep throat can lead to more serious complications in some cases.
Strep Throat Transmission
The bacteria that cause strep are highly contagious. You can spread it by close contact -- including sneezes and handshakes -- or sharing someone else’s personal items.
Be sure to wash your hands often and be cautious about touching objects when someone in your house has strep.