What is Strep Throat?
Strep throat is a throat infection with a bacterium called Streptococcus pyogenes, also known as group A streptococcus. Sore throat is a major symptom of this condition, and the condition is therefore commonly called strep throat. Strep throat is common in children between 5 and 15 years old, and is rare in children below 3 years of age.
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What does the Strep Throat infection look like?
There is a sudden onset of sore throat. The child may suddenly start feel generally unwell. This may progress to throat pain, difficulty in swallowing, headache, fever (with or without chills) and vomiting. On examination, the throat of the child may be red, with red and enlarged tonsils, sometimes with patches of pus. The area at the back of roof of the mouth may show red spots. The lymph glands in the neck may be enlarged and tender.
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Is Strep Throat related to Yeast Infection?
Yeast or Candida infection of the mouth and throat can cause a sore throat similar to strep throat. However, the yeast infection of the throat does not lead to strep throat.
Yeast infection of the throat is called thrush, and usually occurs in people with diabetes, weak immune system or having had treatment with antibiotic or corticosteroids. It can occur in all age groups, and even in an infant if the mother has vaginal thrush and the baby was born through vaginal delivery.
While thrush and strep throat can look alike, the causative organisms are different for the two conditions.
What are the symptoms of sore throat caused by Yeast?
Yeast infection of the throat can start suddenly or slowly. The symptoms may be confused with a mild case of strep throat. There are white patches on the tongue and tonsils, as well as the mucosa of the inner cheeks, gums, roof of the mouth. The patches may be slightly raised with a cheese-like appearance. The soreness may make it difficult to eat or swallow food. On scraping the patches, there may be bleeding spots. There is a loss of taste in the mouth. There is usually no swelling of lymph nodes.
How is Strep Throat different from Yeast Infection?
Strep throat spreads through air, when an infected person coughs or sneezes and discharges the bacteria into the air. It can also spread through shared food or drinks, or by touching contaminated things. Yeast is normally present in our body, and in the presence of decreased immunity, it overgrows and leads to infections.
Thrush caused by yeast leads to white patches throughout the mouth, while the patches in strep throat are mainly on the tonsils, with red spots on the roof of back of the mouth. Usually pus points are not seen on the tonsils in yeast infection. While the yeast infection can linger on for weeks or months, strep throat usually resolves in a week or two, with or without treatment.
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Studies have shown that antibiotics decrease the severity of the symptoms, but the duration is reduced only by a day. Antifungal drugs and supplements are required for yeast infection of the throat.