Strep throat is a bacterial throat infection that can make your throat feel sore and scratchy. Only a small portion of sore throats are the result of strep throat.

It's important to identify strep throat for a number of reasons. If untreated, strep throat can sometimes cause complications such as kidney inflammation and rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever can lead to painful and inflamed joints, a rash and even damage to heart valves.

Strep throat is most common between the ages of 5 and 15, but it affects people of all ages. If you or your child has signs or symptoms of strep throat, see your doctor for prompt treatment.

Dec. 20, 2012