What is strep throat ?

Strep throat is a kind of sore throat which is caused by bacteria termed as Streptococcus pyogenes. This also referred to as group A streptococcus. Sore throat is a general term for any condition in which the throat is painful, scratchy and tender to touch. Basically, strep throat is a type of sore throat. While strep throat is primarily caused by bacteria, sore throat can be due to bacteria or viruses. The term strep throat is used more frequently in countries like Canada and America than in other countries that speak English. Also, strep throat can be termed as Streptococcal pharyngitis or streptococcal sore throat.

The streptococcal bacteria are very contagious and will spread by way of airborne droplets every time a sick person will sneeze or cough. Moreover, people can be infected if they touch the surfaces which the infected person was able to touch previously. These areas include door knobs, objects inside the bathroom and kitchen utensils.

Majority of the sore throats are not usually serious. Generally speaking, the infected person will improve within three days to a week with no treatment. These commonly occur in children and adolescents. This is due to the fact that the bodies of younger people have not been exposed to a lot of viruses and bacteria when compared to the older individuals. Their immunity has not been built up yet. It is quite common for people regardless of age to experience several episodes of sore throat within a period of one year.

Usually, sore throat is due to inflammation or swelling of the back area of the throat or oropharynx and the tonsils or the laryngeal lymphoid nodules. The infections can be the result of streptococcus bacteria which caused strep throat or due to viruses.

But sore throats can also be due to some non-infectious factors which are listed below. These occur less frequently.

• Malignancy which is very rare
• Surgical procedure of the throat
• Smoking
• Consumption of alcohol which is rare
• Hay fever
• Acid reflux or better known as gastro-esophageal reflux
• Screaming for a long period of time which occurs with those who attend any sporting event