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Sore Throat vs. Strep Throat

Winter is coming, and sore and strep throat are the most common illnesses for which doctors are consulted. But how do you tell the difference?
Sore Throat vs Strep Throat

Pain in the throat is one of the most common symptoms of all adult primary care visits each year. We have written before about common sore throat and strep throat, but do you really know the difference between both of them?

Sore Throat vs. Strep Throat

Strep throat (or streptococcal infection) is a less common type of throat pain caused by the Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. It can be differentiated from sore throat by the following symptoms, acording to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

1● Fever.

2● Swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck.

3● Headache.

4● Stomach pain.

5● Red or swollen tonsils which sometimes have white patches.

6● Small red spots on the roof of the mouth.

7● Nausea or vomiting.

One of the differences between sore throat and strep throat is that strep throat tends to be more common in children. Furthermore, while a sore throat usually improves on its own over time (in about 7 days, more or less), strep throat requires treatment with an antibiotic to prevent further complications.

When To See A Doctor?

There are additional, more serious symptoms that, if experienced, should mean a call to a doctor:

1● Difficulty opening your mouth.

2● Sore joints.

3● Painful or stiff neck.

4● A fever higher than 38 degrees Celsius.

5● Blood in your saliva or phlegm.

6● Rash (which could sometimes be scarlet fever/scarlatina).

Doctors look at the throat with a torch and feel the neck for swollen glands. In addition, they can use a swab test to find out if you have strep. They may take a swab from the throat to determine the cause of the infection due to the fact that swabs can test for a range of viruses and bacteria.

If you experience severe symptoms like these ones, talk to our doctors to determine the cause and best course of treatment for you.


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