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What Are the Signs of Strep Throat in Adults?

A warm compress offers temporary relief when applied to the neck of a patient with strep throat.
Pain in the throat and swollen glands are symptoms of strep throat.
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  • Written By: Diane Goettel
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 17 March 2014
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Although strep throat is most commonly associated with school-age children, it is also possible for adults to have this illness. The most common symptoms are soreness or pain in the throat, fever, swollen glands in the neck, and the appearance of spots of white pus at the back or on the sides of the throat. In many cases, adults experiencing these symptoms simply think that they have come down with a cold or with the flu and respond accordingly with rest, warm liquids, vitamins, and over-the-counter medicines that both relieve pain and reduce fevers. It is always best to visit a medical professional when experiencing any signs of illness than to try and manage it alone.

Adults experiencing two or more of the symptoms described above may have strep throat, which can be diagnosed in by a medical professional. Strep throat in adults can be diagnosed using one of two tests, a throat culture or a rapid test. The rapid test can be completed right in the healthcare provider's office, but the throat culture may take 24 to 48 hours for results. As such, medical professional often use the rapid test first. Adults who receive a negative result are usually given instructions to care for their sore throat with lozenges, sprays, and pain relievers.

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Strep throat is often treated with a course of antibiotics, like penicillin or a similar drug, which is typically used for ten days. During this period of time, the patient can also care for her sore throat with hot herbal teas with honey, lozenges, and plenty of rest. Even if the symptoms go away in a few days, it is important for patients to finish the course of antibiotics as prescribed.

There are a few differences between strep throat in adults and strep throat in children. Children often experience headaches and discomfort in the abdominal region when they have this illness. They may also become nauseated and experience vomiting. These symptoms are not usually experienced by adults with strep. The symptoms that are shared by both children and adults include a sore throat, a low-grade fever, swelling in the neck, and white spots at the back of the throat.

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