Strep throat is a bacterial infection caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria. The bacteria are highly contagious and can be spread through direct contact with an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as saliva, nasal secretions, or mucus from coughing or sneezing.
Strep throat can also be spread indirectly through touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. It’s important to note that not everyone who comes into contact with the bacteria will develop strep throat. Factors such as the strength of your immune system, your overall health, and your age can all play a role in your susceptibility to the infection.
Some common risk factors for strep throat include:
- Being in close contact with someone who has strep throat
- Having a weakened immune system
- Poor hygiene, such as not washing your hands regularly or covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing
- Being in crowded or poorly ventilated areas, such as schools or daycare centers
- Being a child between the ages of 5 and 15
If you think you may have strep throat, it’s important to see a healthcare professional for a diagnosis and treatment. Strep throat can usually be treated with antibiotics, and prompt treatment can help prevent complications and speed up recovery.