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What are the signs and
symptoms of strep throat?
Signs of strep throat are not unique - indeed many viral infections (which
cause the large majority of sore throats) can have identical signs and symptoms
as a GAS infection. Typically, an older child and adolescent will have
several core symptoms such as:
Fever (generally 102 F
[38.8 C] and higher)
Sore throat (may vary from mild to moderate in severity)
Upset stomach with nausea occasionally severe enough to cause
Of note is that runny nose, cough,
hoarse voice, muscle aches,
oral blisters are generally not seen with a
strep throat infection. These latter symptoms are more commonly indicative
of a sore throat caused by a virus.
Signs of strep throat infection include:
Redness of the soft palate, uvula (the "punching bag" structure hanging
from the back of the soft palate) and tonsils. Commonly the tonsils may have
a bumpy character to their surface - somewhat like a golfball.
A purulent discharge on the tonsils (exudate)
Petechiae (1-2 mm bright red "dots" which represent ruptured
capillaries) scattered on the soft palate. The presence of these "white
spots" is often associated with bad breath (halitosis).
tender neck lymph nodes (also known as lymph glands), and
A diffuse rash over the torso and groin region. The classic
description of this rash is that of "goose bumps on a moderate sunburn."
The presence of a strep infection and this specific rash is termed
fever. Such a diagnosis does not imply a more severe GAS infection or
imply any change in prognosis or management. The rash is not contagious.
It is important to note that while most patients with strep throat will
experience these signs and symptoms, not all will necessarily be present in each