Knowing about strep throat symptoms means you can help prevent the spread of the disease to other people.

That's important because strep throat is a throat infection caused by bacteria that — in very rare cases — can kill someone. In medical circles, that bacteria is called Streptococcus pyogenes, or group A streptococcus.

In the United States, the prime season for contracting strep throat is in the late fall, winter and early spring.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, strep throat cannot be diagnosed without a lab test.

In other words, you can’t just look in the throat and determine if the soreness is caused by a strep bacterial infection or a virus.

Strep throat is transmitted from one person to another through direct contact with the saliva or nasal fluids, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

If you think you might have been exposed, the symptoms of strep throat include one or more of the following:

  • red and painful sore throat
  • white patches on your tonsils
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • fever
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • abdominal pain
The best way to prevent strep throat infection is to wash your hands frequently and practice good personal hygiene.

In addition, the CDC recommends avoiding close contact with people who have colds, upper respiratory infections and, of course, those who exhibit strep throat symptoms.

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