What Are the Most Common Symptoms of a Staph Throat Infection?

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  • Written By: M. Kayo
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 09 December 2018
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The most common symptoms of a staph throat infection are red rash or extremely red-colored skin at the back of the throat, pus-filled blisters appearing just under the surface of the throat tissue, enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, fever, and soreness or pain when swallowing. A localized infection will likely be confined to this area and may be surrounded by a circular area of white blood cells and bacteria called an abscess. These abscesses break open or burst and the leaking pus or fluid leaks onto the surrounding skin causing more, newer infections. The infection may enter the blood and spread throughout the entire body causing damage to other tissue and organs. A staph infection caused by Staphylococcus bacteria is commonly treated using antibiotics.

Most throat infections and sore throats may actually be viral pharyngitis caused by a cold or flu virus. About 10 to 15% of throat infections are bacterial infections and could be caused by Streptococcus bacteria (strep throat) or Staphylococcus bacteria. A staph throat infection may be accompanied by a fever of at least 102°F (38.9°C) and will cause the lymph nodes in the neck to become tender and swollen. The skin in the back of the throat will have a bright red appearance with several white or yellow pus-filled blisters. Strep throat will manifest similar symptoms, but it may also appear with a flu or cold which causes fever, body aches, and chills.


The word staph is short for Staphylococcus, a term that identifies more than 30 known types of Staphylococcus bacteria. Most throat infections in people are caused by the Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) bacteria. This generally harmless bacteria can live and thrive in many areas of a healthy person's skin, including around the nose, mouth, anus and genitals. When the skin is broken, injured, punctured or otherwise compromised, however, Staphylococcus bacteria can enter the body through the wound and cause infection. Warm and humid climates may also help the bacteria spread more easily between people through skin-to-skin contact with an the infected area.

S. aureus is commonly found in hospitals and regularly places hospital staff, surgical patients, patients with skin irritations, those with kidney disease and insulin-dependent diabetics at risk of infection. This type of bacteria can also contaminate sheets, pillow cases, blankets and other similar objects in a hospital or medical care facility. S. aureus may also spread bacteria to the bloodstream, causing arthritis, pockets of infection causing pain and swelling under the skin, heart valve inflammation, meningitis, bone inflammation and pneumonia. Even though Staphylococcus bacteria are able to spread through the air, most infections are caused by contact with bodily fluids or open sores already contaminated by the bacteria. To get an accurate diagnosis of staph throat infection and its proper treatment, individuals should consult a physician or other health care professional.


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Post 5

I've had staph once and it almost killed me. I would have been dead if I hadn't gone to the hospital in that hour I did, and just in time, it popped.

But now I think I have it again after a couple years after my last time. There's a white bubble on my tonsil in the same spot I got the staph infection before and it feels the same as when I first got it. Last night, I was running a fever and felt nauseated and light headed and now I have a bubble in my throat. Could this be staph again?

Post 4

We found out today that my son has staph infection in his throat, he is running fever, hurting all over, and it took the doctor weeks to actually do a swab. They gave him antibiotics and said he could go back to school tomorrow. Isn't this contagious?

Post 3

Are migraines and yellow phlegm symptoms of a staph infection in the throat?

Post 2

@simrin-- It does sound like you have staph. It's not difficult to diagnose staph, but there are different kinds and testing has to be done to know which type it is. The type also determines which antibiotic is most suitable for it.

Sometimes doctors don't do specific testing if they're sure that the throat infection symptoms show staph. You should finish the whole course of antibiotic. If symptoms don't go away then, go back to your doctor.

Post 1

I have most of these symptoms. My throat is extremely red and sore with several small abscesses. I have fatigue as well.

I went to the doctor and was told that it's most likely staph and was given a general antibiotic. It's been two days since I started taking the antibiotic and I don't feel any better.

Is it possible that this is something else? Is it difficult to know for sure whether I have a staph infection?

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