If you have never had strep throat, consider yourself lucky. Though dealing with the virus is zero fun, watching your kid go through it is even worse.

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Here's some horrible news, according to Epic Research and doctors right here in Michigan, we may be on the brink of a historic year for scratchy throats and call-ins.

Michigan's Winter Plaugue: Raspy Voice, and Swollen Nodes, Welcome Strep Throat

A young man check for strep throat as Michigan faces increased cases and a shortage of amoxicillin.
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Strep throat, most just call it strep, is a nasty infection that makes you feel like your throat hates you. Here's how the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) describes this nasty bug:

an infection in the throat and tonsils caused by bacteria called group A Streptococcus (group A strep).

The 'group A strep' comes with a host of symptoms, like a fever, pain akin to eating a pinecone when swallowing, a sore throat that gets red enough to put Rudolph out of a job, swollen tonsils, tiny red dots on the roof of your mouth, and (this one is my least favorite) streaks of puss on your tonsils.

Signs Point to a Season Filled With Strep Throats Across Michigan

A diagnosis of strep throat in Michigan as the state braces for a record year for strep throat cases.
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Epic Research noticed the trend very early in the year, noting that there was a 30% increase in strep cases compared to the same time 5 years ago. Now we are seeing more tangible evidence in our backyard:

I've been practicing emergency medicine for 25 years, and I have not seen strep throat as frequently as I have in these past six or eight months,

That's Dr. Jennifer Stephens, the head of the emergency department at Henry Ford Medical Center - Fairlane in Dearborn, Michigan, when speaking with NBC News. Since strep is spread through direct contact and droplets, it spreads quickly and easily.

CDC Advises Michiganders to Exercise Caution to Avoid Strep When Traveling

A lab culture as Michigan doctors continue to diagnose increased cases of strep throat in Michigan.
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Michigan isn't the only state seeing an uptick in cases, sources have told NBC News that Deleware and Pennsylvania are seeing a 300-400% increase in strep cases since the beginning of the school year as compared to last year. As parents we all know, the only thing your kids will remember to bring home with them is whatever bug is being passed around the hallways.

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And to top it all off: the antibiotic used to treat strep (amoxicillin), especially the formula for young children, is in short supply according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). So wash up Michigan and stay home if you have a scratchy throat. Sharing is caring, but if you care you'll keep strep to yourself.

Goosebumps and other bodily reactions, explained

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Gallery Credit: Scott Clow

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