While most sore throats can be attributed to various factors including seasonal change, airborne irritants, and the common cold, another illness can cause an extremely painful sore throat – strep throat.
While strep throat is only the cause of a small percentage of sore throats, it can cause many severe complications, including sinusitis, middle ear infection, kidney damage, pneumonia, or rheumatic fever. If you are dealing with a sore throat, it’s important to make the distinction between something that will probably be resolved on its own or strep throat.
What is Strep Throat?
Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the throat and tonsil caused by group A streptococcus. It thrives in the nose and throat, and you can get the virus from close contact with someone who has strep A bacteria or is a carrier of it.
Strep throat is most common in children, but can affect people of all ages.
What Are the Strep Throat Symptoms?
The most common symptom of strep throat is a sore throat, but there are others as well. These include:
- Painful swallowing
- Red and swollen tonsils
- Swollen and tender lymph nodes in the neck
- Tiny red spots at the back and roof of the mouth
- Nausea or vomiting
- Body aches
It is, however, possible to have many of these strep throat symptoms, but not have the strep throat bacterial infection. These symptoms can also be caused by a viral infection. To really determine if you have strep throat, you’ll need a specific test. Medical professionals can diagnose strep throat by doing a rapid antigen test on a swab sample from your throat or by doing a throat culture.
Strep Throat Treatment
If you are diagnosed with strep throat, you will likely be prescribed an oral antibiotic. Antibiotics, if taken within 48 hours of the onset of illness, help to reduce the duration and severity of the symptoms, as well as decrease the risk of complication or spreading the infection. In addition to the antibiotic, over-the-counter pain relievers might be recommended to reduce fever and alleviate throat pain.
Other tips for comfort and relief include:
- Getting plenty of rest
- Drinking lots of water
- Gargling with saltwater
- Using a humidifier
- Eating soothing foods (soups, broths, applesauce, mashed potatoes, and soft fruits)
Have a Sore Throat?
If you have a sore throat that you suspect might be caused by a strep throat bacterial infection, it is crucial to get diagnosed right away. This will not only help you avoid potential complications, but also help get relief from your symptoms sooner, preventing the spread of infection to others. At UrgentMED, we have 18 convenient locations across Southern California, providing affordable and professional services without long wait times. We offer diagnostic testing for strep throat, and can get you in, tested, treated, and back to life within 30 minutes. Find the location nearest you today.