What Are the Symptoms for Strep Throat?

Strep throat is a bacterial infection in the throat caused by the Streptococcus bacteria. It mostly is seen in children age five to 15. The National Institutes of Health reports that antibiotic treatment usually is recommended. Without treatment, strep throat can lead to rheumatic fever or other toxic bacterial infections in other organs of the body, such as the kidneys. Medical attention is advised if symptoms of a sore throat last longer than two days or if a fever accompanies the sore throat.

Onset Symptoms

Symptoms of strep throat appear from two to five days after exposure to the bacteria. A red and sore throat is one of the first indications of strep throat.


A sore throat accompanied by a fever above 101 degrees Fahrenheit can indicate strep throat. Chills may accompany the fever. Lack of fever accompanying a sore throat frequently indicates a viral sore throat and not a strep infection.

White Spots

White spots or patches in the back of the throat indicate a possible strep infection, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Appetite and Nausea

Loss of appetite and difficulty swallowing are common symptoms of strep throat. A person with strep throat also may have swollen glands that make eating difficult. Nausea with a sore throat is another indication of strep. Medical attention is advised if these two symptoms appear, especially if accompanied by fever.

Rash and Headaches

The rash associated with strep throat looks similar to the rash caused by scarlet fever. Headaches also frequently accompany the sore throat of strep.


Strep infections cause a painful swelling in the throat. A viral sore throat is usually less painful than a strep infection, and this is a useful diagnostic tool. When in doubt, consult a medical professional for diagnosis and treatment.

About this Author

Melanie Grimes is an integrative medical professional. She teaches homeopathy at Bastyr University and edits medical journals.