Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What is strep throat?"
One of the kids in my son's class has strep throat, is it contagious? And what does it do exactly?
If you are concerned that your child may have contracted strep throat, please speak with your doctor about whether or not it would be appropriate to treat him. Strep is a very common infection that can be passed quickly from one person to another. Almost all of us have had at least one encounter with this (either personally or with/through a family member), and can remember how terribly painful it is to even just swallow. It is caused by a common bacteria, a streptococcus, that can sometimes live in the tonsillar crypts (the little pits that some people can see in their tonsils) even when the patient is not ill. For most people that get the infection, however, it will cause a sore throat, some bumps in the neck (reactive lymphadenopathy), a fever, and can also cause some other types of infections by the way that the body can react in fighting the infection. For that last reason, most people are treated with antibiotics and have an excellent response over a very short amount of time. For a small minority, the infection can go on to cause either a local or a systemic reaction that may need to be treated more aggressively. Again, please talk to your doctor if you believe your child may have strep throat.
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