Your throat is a tube that carries food to your esophagus and air to your windpipe and larynx. The technical name for throat is pharynx.
Throat problems are common. You've probably had a sore throat The cause is usually a viral infection, but other causes include allergies, infection with strep bacteria or the upward movement of stomach acids into the esophagus, called gastric reflux.
Other problems that affect the throat include :
- Tonsillitis - an infection in the tonsils
- Pharyngitis - inflammation of the pharynx
Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the throat caused by streptococcus bacteria. It can affect anyone, but is most common in children ages 5 to 15. If your child is complaining about a sore throat, it is important to determine if it is from a cold, which is caused by a virus, or if it is strep throat, caused by a bacterial infection. Without knowing the cause of a sore throat, it is hard to determine how to treat it. Strep throat may not get better unless it is treated with antibiotics, but antibiotics have no effect on viral infections.
In general, signs and symptoms of strep throat include :
- Throat pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus
- Swollen, tender lymph nodes in the neck
- Stomachache, often accompanied by vomiting in younger children
Unfortunately, many of these symptoms are similar to those of a sore throat caused by the common cold. However, one big difference is that strep throat is not associated with a cough. These symptoms can also be indicators of other viral illness or tonsillitis.
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