Strep Throat Infection: Signs, Symptoms, and Complications


Strep throat has a number of classic signs and symptoms that many people immediately associate with a bacterial infection, such as sore and swollen throat , enlarged tonsils, and bad breath. Fever, chills, headaches, and decreased appetite can also occur. However, all of this is also typical of most viral infections.

Because of this, signs and symptoms alone cannot be used to diagnose strep throat , although a doctor will definitely look for them to determine if a strep test is required.

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Frequent symptoms

The time that elapses between contact with the bacteria and the development of symptoms of a sore throat is called the incubation period. The incubation period for a sore throat is usually 2 to 5 days. During this period, it is considered contagious .

The most common signs and symptoms of a sore throat include:

  • Sore throat , especially when swallowing.
  • Fever and chills
  • Headache
  • Fatigue and lack of energy.
  • Decreased appetite
  • Enlarged lymph nodes that can be felt as lumps on the sides of the neck or in the armpits.
  • Small red or purple spots in the sky
  • Swelling in the back of the throat
  • Redness around the throat
  • White patches in the back of the throat.

The incubation period for angina is 2 to 5 days. Once you have symptoms, you become infected and can pass strep to other people.

As soon as you start to experience any symptoms or notice signs, you should start taking precautions to avoid infecting those around you. You can spread the infection to other people by sneezing, coughing, and touching objects (if your hands have been in contact with saliva and mucus). Covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing, avoiding drinks, and washing your hands regularly can help.

However, keep in mind that a sore throat is usually caused by a virus, not a strep. Viral infections usually go away on their own and do not respond to the antibiotics used for strep. Common viral symptoms that should not be expected if you have a sore throat include a runny nose, a hoarse voice, pink or crusty eyes, and diarrhea.

Rare symptoms

If you have a sore throat, you may have other symptoms, but these are less common. Its presence does not necessarily mean that your infection is more dangerous or more likely to cause serious sore throat complications.

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rash on the chest and neck.
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Stiff joints
  • Painful lymph nodes

Urgent signs and symptoms

Strep throat is generally not dangerous, but it can cause a medical emergency, although this is rare.

When to seek emergency help

If you have strep and have any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

  • Breathing problems or trouble breathing.
  • Dizziness, weakness, or fainting
  • Blue or pale lips or fingers
  • Swallowing problems


Strep throat can cause a number of serious complications, but these are rare. These concerns can arise if the infection is not treated or if you have a weak immune system. However, sometimes serious complications can arise for no apparent reason.

Complications of tonsillitis are generally divided into two main categories: purulent (which forms pus) and non-pus (which does not form pus). These classifications mean more to doctors than to patients, but they define the problem you are facing. it falls to the will to dictate what treatment is being considered.

Complications with the formation of pus.

This may require intervention, such as surgery to remove the pus. The three most common purulent complications that can occur after a sore throat are:

  • Peritonsillar abscess is an abscess (a collection of bacteria enclosed by a wall that can form a lump) that forms behind and in front of the tonsil. It can start two to eight days after a sore throat and is associated with antibiotic resistance.
  • Otitis media is an infection of the middle ear that is often characterized by pain, fever, and fluid drainage.
  • Sinusitis (sinus infection): In most cases, sinusitis is a mild infection caused by a virus, but when it occurs as a complication of a sore throat, it is caused by a bacterial infection and requires treatment with antibiotics or drainage if there is an abscess. …

Complications of tonsillitis can be purulent (purulent) and non-purulent (non-purulent).

Non-suppurative complications

They are often treated with intravenous medications that work throughout the body. Common non-suppurative complications that can occur after a sore throat include :

  • Arthritis characterized by swollen joints and widespread pain .
  • Generalized swelling throughout the body, especially in the abdomen, face, eyes, feet, ankles, or hands.
  • Rheumatic fever caused by an autoimmune reaction to an infection. The antibodies your body makes against strep bacteria can react against your own tissues. Rheumatic fever can affect the heart, joints, and brain and lead to chronic rheumatic heart disease.
  • Scarlet fever caused by an erythrotoxin produced by bacteria . Warning signs of scarlet fever include discoloration or amount of urine, severe joint pain, fever, rash, seizures, and other neurological changes. Scarlet fever is usually accompanied by a sandpaper-like rash and sometimes a red, uneven tongue, in addition to other symptoms of strep throat.
  • Post- streptococcal glomerulonephritis is a kidney disease that can occur after a sore throat and can be very serious and lead to kidney failure. Symptoms include decreased urine output, rust-colored urine, and blood in the urine.
  • Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) , although this is rare.
  • Henoch-Schonlein purpura , an autoimmune syndrome associated with group A streptococcus. This results in a low platelet count and bruising, as well as other serious kidney and digestive tract symptoms .

Frequently asked questions

  • No. Strep throat can cause abdominal pain and nausea, but if you have diarrhea with a sore throat, it is likely due to another cause, such as another viral or bacterial infection.

  • Bacteria that cause a sore throat can also cause bad breath. Bacteria enter the mouth through the nasal passages or from the back of the throat. Halitosis can also be caused by an upper respiratory infection , tonsillitis , or a lung infection.

  • With antibiotic treatment, sore throat symptoms start to go away after the first two doses. After 24 hours, you will no longer be infected. Although a sore throat may go away on its own, it takes much longer and will remain highly contagious for about three weeks. Without treatment, you are also at risk for serious complications such as scarlet fever and rheumatic fever.

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