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A to Z: Strep Throat

Also called: Streptococcal Sore Throat; Streptococcal Pharyngitis; Pharyngitis; Strep Infection; Strep

Strep throat is a throat infection caused by group A streptococcusbacteria. It's a fairly common illness in kids and teens, and gets better within a few days if treated promptly with antibiotics.

More to Know

Strep throat is contagious and typically happens during the school year when kids and teens are in close contact. A strep infection can spread through sneezing, coughing, and shaking hands.

Because strep throat is a bacterial infection, antibiotics are used for treatment. Not treating strep — or not finishing the prescribed course of antibiotics — can put a person at risk for other health problems.

Not all sore throats are due to a strep infection. In fact, most sore throats are caused by viruses and need no special treatment.

Keep in Mind

Strep throat requires treatment with antibiotics. With the proper medical care, along with plenty of rest and fluids, a child should be back to school and play within a few days.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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