A bacterial infection of the throat is quite common. There are many strains of bacterium that can lead to throat infection. Sometimes the symptoms of a viral infection are exactly the same as a bacterial infection. A test done by a health care provider, such as an oral swab and culture of the sample, can help identify the cause of the symptoms. Some throat infections have distinct symptoms that make recognition easy for medical professionals. An individual isn't likely to realize a bacterial infection is to blame for the symptoms being experienced without the help of a doctor.
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Pain in the throat is a common symptom of a bacterial infection but it does not necessarily mean the discomfort is the result of an infection. The pain may persist several days or fail to respond to home remedies to soothe the soreness. Swallowing can exacerbate the throat discomfort. The Mayo Clinic recommends medical treatment when the throat infection leads to problems breathing or swallowing anything, including saliva.
With any type of infection, a fever is possible. Depending on what strain of bacteria is causing the infection, the fever may be mild and last only one day or it may be high and persist for several days. Anytime a fever persists despite fever-reducing efforts, such as over-the-counter medications or tepid baths, medical attention is necessary. If a rash accompanies the fever, the infection may be due to a strain of bacteria called streptococcus, says FamilyDoctor.org.
An infection can cause head pain, body aches and tender glands in the jaw and throat. Children are likely to have abdominal pain with some infections that can lead to vomiting or nausea, suggests the Mayo Clinic. Pain or swelling in the joints are a sign of a more serious infection and require immediate medical treatment. The Centers for Diseas Control and Prevention recommends emergency treatment for individuals who notice severe pain in one area that begins abruptly, such as in the arm or leg. This can be a sign of streptococcal toxic shock syndrome.
Any type of infection, especially viral, can cause a body rash that is characterized by small red bumps. Typically these bumps are flat but the appearance can vary depending on the infectious agent. Small red bumps may also appear on the back of the throat or the roof of the mouth, explains the Mayo Clinic. Other types of infection, such as strep or tonsillitis, can cause white patches on the throat or tonsils, according to FamilyDoctor.org.