Strep throat is a bacterial infection in the throat and tonsils. It is known to cause a sore or scratchy throat, as well as white patches on your tonsils. Strep throat is highly contagious during the incubation period — the two to five days after you're infected and before symptoms appear. It stays contagious until your symptoms resolve, which can take up to seven days. This type of bacteria is commonly found in the throat and on the skin, but it doesn't necessarily cause an infection in everyone who has it, says Michael Devine , MD, an internal medicine doctor and geriatrician at Devine Concierge Medicine in Philadelphia.
Dangers of Untreated Strep Throat | Strep Throat Complications
Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the throat including the tonsils. Strep throat infection is more common among children and teenagers, with an incidence peaking between five to fifteen years of age. Many people get strep throat infections between late autumn and spring, but it is more prevalent during the school time when students are in close proximity to each other in classrooms. This type of throat infection is caused by bacteria belonging to Group A Streptococcus, or more specifically, by Streptococcus pyogenes. The strep bacteria invade the throat tissues and cause an inflammatory reaction.
You wake up with a sore, scratchy throat. How worried should you be? Sore throats are common and are most often caused by viruses, such as the cold or flu. Often, these illnesses are relatively mild and don't require a doctor's intervention. However, some sore throats are a sign of a bacterial infection—specifically, strep throat, caused by group A Streptococcus.
Strep throat has a number of classic signs and symptoms that many people immediately associate with the bacterial infection, such as throat pain and swelling, enlarged tonsils, and bad breath. Fever, chills, headaches, and decreased appetite can also occur. The time between exposure to the bacteria and the development of strep throat symptoms is called the incubation period.