The CDC explains that strep throat bacteria are spread through coughing and sneezing. Touching the eyes, nose or mouth transfers the bacteria, and so does sharing cups or food. It is also possible for strep throat to spread through sores caused by strep infections.
Strep throat is characterized by sudden sore throat, a fever, headaches, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, and red or swollen tonsils. In more severe cases, strep throat can be accompanied by a rash, vomiting and nausea, according to the CDC. However, only a health care professional can make the diagnosis and prescribe antibiotics.
Although strep throat symptoms clear on their own, the CDC recommends obtaining a prescription for antibiotics to reduce the duration and severity of the symptoms and to prevent the bacteria from spreading. Antibiotics also prevent more serious complications from developing. Improvements in health typically appear one to two days after the start of an antibiotics regimen, but the CDC does not recommend stopping the prescription early in order to fully eradicate the bacteria.
To prevent strep throat from spreading, the CDC advises individuals to wash their hands thoroughly and avoid sharing utensils, cups and plates. Anyone who has strep throat should take precautions to avoid spreading bacteria by covering their mouths and noses when sneezing. There are no vaccines for strep throat.