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Can adults get strep throat?

Diana K. Blythe, MD
Pediatrics
Adults can definitely get strep throat. Usually transmission is through one of their children. If your child (or coworker who accidentally drank from your water bottle) has recently tested positive for strep throat and you have a fever, rash or sore throat, make an appointment to see your doctor. Your doctor will want to do a throat swab before prescribing you antibiotics for strep throat. 
While strep is less common in adults, they can still get strep throat.  Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the throat, including tonsils, caused by the bacteria Group A beta hemolytic streptococcus.  Contrary to what many people think, strep throat cannot be diagnosed by inspection. Often patients are diagnosed with strep throat if they have pus on their tonsils.  In actuality, pus is more often seen with some of the viruses like mono and adeno.  Most strep throat infections are very angry red and may even bleed when touched.  As the infection progresses, pus may also develop.  However, it is very important to have a strep test or culture done before starting antibiotics for strep throat.

Yes, adults can get strep throat. Because strep throat is caused by bacteria that are passed through interaction with an infected person, it is easy to pick it up no matter how old you are. Generally, though, strep throat affects children in elementary, middle, or high school.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.