If you notice a red, sore throat, with swollen neck lymph nodes, a fever, headache, and white spots on your tonsils, then you probably have what is known as strep throat. In childrens cases, it can cause abdominal pain, nausea, and even vomiting. Symptoms such as a stuffy nose, sneezing, and coughing, which are common for colds, are not generally seen in the case of strep throat.
If harsh symptoms do not arise, and you are untreated, you could be infecting people in your surroundings for the first 2 to 3 weeks of contraction. After a treatment has begun, however, you are only contageous for the next 24 to 28 hours. Generally, you contract strep throat through a bacterium that is spread by close contact to an infected person. In some cases you can get the virus through contaminated food.
How do you know for sure? The doctor of course! Your doctor will swab your throat to test for the bacterium culture, or for a rapid strep test. This process can be done in the doctors office, and only takes 5 to 10 minutes. If the original tests come back negative, then a second “follow – up culture” test may take place. This can take up to 2 days for results. If you are taking medication, and both tests are negative for strep, discontinue use of the antibiotics, as this may suggest that you have a viral infection and need to be treated properly.