Health & Wellness

Sore Throat vs. Strep Throat

A sore throat is never fun, but sometimes it can be a sign of something more serious. Here’s how you can determine if your pain might be a symptom of strep throat.

Sore Throat

A few common causes of sore throats are viruses, environmental factors, allergens, and fungi. Sore throats typically go away on their own, but keeping the throat moist can help relieve pain. Some simple ways of achieving this are drinking a hot cup of tea with lemon, sucking on lozenges, using a humidifier to keep the air moist, gargling salt water, and using pain relievers and over-the-counter throat sprays. If your sore throat doesn’t disappear after a couple of days, it might be a sign of something more serious, and you should visit a doctor.

Strep Throat

Strep throat, an infection which affects your throat and tonsils, occurs when you come into contact with the bacteria group A Streptococcus. Strep throat is more common in children than in adults. Your sore throat might be strep if it hasn’t disappeared within a couple of days, the pain in your throat is severe, you have swollen lymph nodes, or if you have a high fever. Other symptoms of strep throat include headaches, nausea, small red dots on the roof of your mouth, painful swallowing, and vomiting.

What to Do If You Think You Have Strep

Visit your doctor if you experience severe throat pain. He or she can perform a throat swab culture to determine if you have strep. If you test positive, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. You should stay home until your fever has cleared and you have taken the antibiotics for at least 24 hours. Strep is contagious, so make sure you cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, avoid sharing dishes with others, and wash your hands frequently.

If you have concerning symptoms, the experienced primary care physicians at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group are here to help you get back to better. Schedule an appointment today and get the care you need.


Sources:
CDC | Strep Throat
CDC | Worried Your Sore Throat May Be Strep?
NCBI | Strep Throat
NIH | What to Do When Your Throat Hurts

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