Strep (short for Streptococcus) infections can start in different ways depending on the type of infection. Here are a few common ways that strep infections can start:
- Strep throat: Strep throat usually starts with a sore throat that comes on suddenly and is accompanied by pain when swallowing. Other symptoms may include fever, swollen tonsils, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
- Skin infections: Strep skin infections can start as a red, swollen area of skin that is warm and painful to the touch. The area may also be accompanied by a fever and may spread to other parts of the body.
- Scarlet fever: Scarlet fever is a type of strep infection that can occur after a strep throat infection. It typically starts with a red rash that appears on the face, neck, and chest and then spreads to other parts of the body. Other symptoms may include a sore throat, fever, and swollen lymph nodes.
- Invasive infections: Invasive strep infections, such as bloodstream infections or pneumonia, can start with symptoms such as fever, chills, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, and confusion.
It’s important to note that not all sore throats or skin infections are caused by strep, and a proper diagnosis by a healthcare professional is necessary for appropriate treatment.