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Is Strep Throat Contagious?

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  • Written By: Misty Amber Brighton
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2016
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Strep throat is a contagious disease caused by a bacteria called streptococcal. The disease may be spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, causing this bacteria to be projected into the air. It may also be spread if someone with the infection touches an object, such as a book or desk, which is later touched by an uninfected person. Healthy persons may also contract this viral infection when eating or drinking after someone who is carrying this bacteria or by shaking their hand.

An affected individual will often have swollen tonsils or lymph nodes. This swelling can cause a person to also have a deep cough. The streptococcal bacteria usually thrive in the moist environments of the nose and throat, so they can be projected along with saliva when someone coughs or sneezes. The bacteria can then land on a healthy person, which might cause an infection.

Oftentimes this disease is spread between children in schools. If a pupil who has strep throat touches an object such as a water fountain or desk and another student then touches the same object followed by her nose or ears, infection could enter her body. The infection might also be shared when papers are passed back and forth from teacher to child.

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Strep throat can also be spread whenever someone eats or drinks after another person who has the infection. This is due to the fact that the bacteria are living in the saliva of the diseased individual. The bacteria can be absorbed in the mucous membranes of the healthy person, meaning that conditions are favorable for a viral infection to fester.

Another common way to spread this throat infection would be through shaking another party's hand. If a person had used her hand to cover her mouth after a cough or sneeze, bacteria could get on the appendage. In the event that person had not washed and sanitized her hands before shaking, the strep throat infection could possibly be transferred to the other individual.

Those who are prone to sore throats or viral infections should consider taking precautions against this bacterial infection. One of the preventative measures they may want to contemplate is making sure eating utensils are washed in very hot water and not shared. Persons might also wash their hands frequently, especially after coughing or sneezing. Finally, parents of school children who are infected with strep throat should think about keeping these students at home until they are released by a medical professional so they do not spread this disease to their classmates.

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stoneMason
Post 3

There is an outbreak of strep at schools in our area right now. First, my younger daughter got it and now my older one. Almost every parent I've met from their schools have complained about it.

I always tell my children not to share utensils and cups with their friends and I know that they listen to me. I think the bacteria is spreading through air. I'm going to ask their teachers about ventilation at school. I think being enclosed in classrooms all day makes it easy for kids to give bacteria and viruses to one another.

literally45
Post 2

@turkay1-- Some infections are contagious even when there are no symptoms, but strep is not one of them. If someone doesn't actively have symptoms of strep throat, you can't get strep bacteria from them. You can only get it from someone who is presently sick.

It is true that some people have the bacteria but it's inactive. The bacteria can become active at another time when the person's immune system has weakened due to another illness or due to stress. So if you might carry the bacteria and it might become active suddenly out of nowhere. Having strep throat doesn't always mean that you got the bacteria recently.

Just be careful when you're around people who have symptoms like sore throat, fever and fatigue and you will be fine. If you get strep throat, get treatment right away. The longer strep throat is left untreated, the worse it gets.

candyquilt
Post 1

I've read that up to 20% of the healthy population carries strep throat bacteria without symptoms. Are those people infectious? Can I get strep from someone who looks completely healthy?

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