Is It a Sore Throat or Strep Throat?

Jan 29 • 2016

All kinds of things can cause a sore throat, including bacteria, allergens, cigarette smoke, and viruses. Oftentimes a scratchy throat will get better on its own, but a more serious infection like strep throat requires antibiotics. How can you identify whether the issue is strep, especially in children? We’ve outlined the signs of strep throat below.

Symptoms of Strep Throat
Typically symptoms will begin to show within one to four days of getting the infection. Their severity can vary, but most people experience a sudden sore throat. Other signs to look for include:

• Red, swollen tonsils and back of the throat
• Painful swallowing
• Dehydration
• Fever
• Swollen lymph nodes
• White spots on the tonsils
• Small red spots on the roof of the mouth
• Loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting
• Headaches
• Pain in the abdomen
• Rash

Testing and Treatment of Strep Throat
If you think you or your child may have strep, you’ll want to go to the doctor right away for a test. A simple swab of the throat will test for the infection. Your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic if the results come back positive. If not, another throat culture can determine if you’re suffering from a different kind of infection. Depending on those results, your doctor will direct you to the next step required for treatment.

Once you have confirmed that you have strep throat, antibiotics are the key to getting well. Not only do they help prevent the infection from spreading to others, but they also shorten the amount of time you have the virus, make your symptoms more manageable, and prevent the infection from getting more serious and causing other health issues in the long-run.

If the symptoms of a sore throat point to strep, make an appointment with your doctor right away so you can get healthy as quickly as possible.