14 signs and symptoms of strep throat

Strep throat, also known as streptococcal pharyngitis is a bacterial infection that affects the throat making it feel sore and scratchy.

Strep is very common in children between the ages of 5 to 15 years but it can also affect adults and children across all ages.

Symptoms of strep throat

The common symptoms of strep throat are;

  • Throat pain – Throat pain is a common sign of a strep throat infection and the pain usually comes on very quickly (sharp pain).
  • Painful swallowing – Painful swallowing is common in strep throat infections. The person will experience pain when either swallowing a solid substance or liquids. This pain is usually caused by swollen tonsils in the throat which are caused by strep throat.
  • Red and swollen tonsils – Red and swollen tonsils can be witnessed in the throat of a victim during diagnosis. Sometimes the tonsils will be having white patches or streaks of pus.
  • Tiny red spots in the mouth – Tiny red spots in the mouth can be witnessed when carefully observed. This is also among the common symptoms of strep throat. The spots can be observed at the back of the roof of the mouth and in some cases they can be hard or soft palates.
  • Swollen lymph nodes – The swelling of lymph nodes is among the strep symptoms that are also common in most victims. The lymph nodes at the neck area can feel swollen, tender, and it hurts when you touch that area. This symptom of strep if accompanied by other symptoms like fever can be a likelihood of having a strep throat.
  • Fever – Fever is a common symptom in many diseases including strep throat. Having a fever is just a clear sign that the body is trying to fight off infection and thus the metabolic rate has increased to provide more energy for the transportation of white blood cells to the affected areas. Fever can be strep throat symptom if it is as high as 101 degrees Fahrenheit or even more than that.
  • Headache – Strep throat infection can cause rheumatic fever in most cases. This disease can affect the brain thus leading to headaches. Rheumatic fever usually comes around if the strep throat is not treated and it is very common. READ THE TYPES OF HEADACHES HERE
  • Rash – Rash or scarlet fever or scarlatina is a common symptom of strep throat. It usually develops as a bright red rash on the body and in most cases, it’s accompanied by a high fever and sore throat.
  • Sore throat – Having a sore throat without symptoms of a cold or cough such as congestion or a runny nose is a likely sign that you have a strep throat.
  • Loss of appetite – Loss of appetite is not a very common strep throat symptom but it can be experienced by some people. Appetite loss can also be caused by a different infection but if it is due to a strep throat it will be accompanied by other symptoms like pain while swallowing, throat pain and swollen lymph nodes.
  • Stomach pain – Stomach pain is also not a common strep symptom but if accompanied by chills it signals the possibility of a bacterial infection like strep throat.
  • Body aches – Muscle aches are common in most infections. They are caused by the inflammation which arises when white blood cells fight off an infection in the body.
  • Chills – Having body chills with fever and abdominal pain can be a sign of a strep throat.
  • Nausea or vomiting – Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of strep throat in children than in adults. If nausea and vomiting are accompanied by neck pain or throat pain, painful swallowing and swollen lymph nodes there is a possibility the person has a strep throat.


The above signs and symptoms can be caused by a different infection.

Appropriate medical diagnosis is recommended in order to know the actual disease the person is suffering from.

Do legs hurt with strep throat?

Bacteria fro strep throat can spread to the blood stream and cause damage to the membranes surrounding the muscles and other internal organs. It can lead to pain in the joints and in some cases a person can require amputation if it affects the legs.

Does strep throat make you feel tired?

In some cases a person can feel fatigued or tired due to a strep throat. This tiredness is experienced as the body tries to fight an infection thus causing the person to feel exhausted and lack energy for other simple activities.

How long does fever last with strep throat?

Strep throat fever in most cases can be gone 24 hours after starting to use the prescribed antibiotics.

How often does strep throat lead to rheumatic fever?

It is estimated that less than 0.3% of people with strep throat get rheumatic fever. The highly affected group is children between the ages of 5 to 15 years but adults can also get in.

Can strep damage your heart?

If strep throat persists for long without treatment it can affect the heart. Rheumatic fever scars can affect the valves of the heart causing it to work harder in pumping blood.

Can you get hives from strep throat?

Hives are occasionally experienced by children who have a strep throat. Doctors don’t know what actually causes that outbreak though.

How long does strep rash last?

A strep rash in most cases lasts for 4 to 5 days only.

Where does strep rash appear?

When a strep rash begins it affects the neck, groin and under the arms then after sometime it spreads to the whole body.

What do strep throat spots look like?

Tiny red spots at the top of the back of the mouth and a sandpaper like pink rash on the skin.

Lifon Jeffrey, MD, MPH

Lifon Jeffrey, MD, MPH Is the chief editor of The Healthline medical, health and nutritional articles. His 16 years of experience in the medical field have made him to become more familiar with the daily health related problems and nutritional difficulties people have. He edits all the articles to make sure all the information is accurate, up to date and suits the medical field.

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