Understanding The Difference Between A Sore Throat And Strep Throat
January 16, 2020
January 16, 2020
While nobody wants to experience the discomforting symptoms of a sore throat, that is a process that we are sometimes forced to contend with.
The initial pain in your throat or the throat of your child can be accompanied by other issues that will indicate the presence of a sore throat. However, there are also occasions in which the issue is actually a strep throat.
It will be beneficial for you to understand the symptoms that can reveal whether or not a sore throat is actually a strep throat. These specifics will also indicate whether the discomfort is caused by a virus, or is the result of a bacterial infection. The origin of a sore throat is different than the underlying cause of strep throat, which also results in both conditions being treated in different ways.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control And Prevention (CDC), only 1 out of every 10 adults with a sore throat will actually be dealing with a strep throat. However, the percentage rises with children, as 3 out of 10 kids with symptoms of a sore throat will be experiencing a strep throat.
Sore throats are caused by viruses that can be related to a cold or the flu. That creates the discomfort, irritation, and scratchy sensation in the throat that will normally indicate the presence of this condition.
Since sore throats are caused by viruses, the majority of individuals that experience a sore throat will not require an antibiotic in order for the patient to recover.
The likelihood of developing a sore throat will increase in children and teenagers. This is also true for any adults who smoke, have exposure to chemicals, or contend with seasonal allergies. Any condition that impacts the effectiveness of your immune system will also make you more susceptible to experiencing a sore throat.
While viruses are responsible for sore throats, a case of strep throat will develop due to a bacterial infection that is referred to as streptococcus.
This bacteria will spread between individuals through droplets that emerge from coughing or sneezing. If there is concern about the possibility of a strep throat, this condition cannot be diagnosed simply by looking at the throat. Instead, a physician must throb swab the throat in order to determine whether the issue is actually a strep throat.
Antibiotics can be used to combat a case of strep throat. Not only are they successful in diminishing symptoms, but they will also reduce the amount of time that the condition is present.
If you or your child are contending with the symptoms of a strep throat, then it is recommended that you visit a physician. He or she can perform a test that will confirm whether strep throat is the cause of discomfort.
You should also visit your doctor if you are experiencing dehydration, if you have swelling or pain in your joints, or if you are having difficulty with breathing. This is also true if you discover a rash, or if it is difficult to swallow.
Any adult that is dealing with the symptoms of a sore throat – including having difficulty in swallowing or breathing – should visit a physician. This is also the case for any blood in the saliva, or if there is swelling or a lump in the neck. Any earaches, rashes, or joint pain are also reasons to seek medical attention.
Children that are having trouble swallowing or breathing should also see a doctor.
When To Visit A Doctor
If you or you child are contending with the symptoms of a strep throat, then it is recommended that you visit a physician. He or she can perform a test that will confirm whether strep throat is the cause of discomfort.
You should also visit your doctor if you are experiencing dehydration, swelling or pain in your joints, or if you are having difficulty with breathing. This is also true if you discover a rash, or if it is difficult to swallow.
What A Doctor Will Do
Your physician will ask you questions concerning the exact symptoms that you are dealing with, and will conduct a physical exam. If you are diagnosed with a sore throat that has resulted from a virus, then antibiotics will not be effective. Instead, it will be recommended that the virus be allowed to run its course.
If the diagnosis is ultimately strep throat, then antibiotics will be prescribed in order to combat the infection, and to reduce the risk of any additional conditions.
It is also important that you avoid your workplace for a minimum of 24 hours. This is essential out of consideration for your co-workers, as this will safeguard them from contracting the bacterial infection.
If your physician has diagnosed your son or daughter with a case of strep throat, then the same 24-hour principle applies. He or she should not attend school for that amount of time (or longer) after the initial antibiotic has been taken. It is also possible that your child will require at least one additional day before the recovery process will have progressed to the point that he or she can return to school.
Frequent handwashing by you and everyone in your family will also help deter the spread of either a virus or a bacterial infection. It is also important to avoid drinking or eating from the same utensils if anyone is already experiencing a sore throat or strep throat.
At Rapid Med Urgent Care We Can Help
If you have any questions or concerns about sore throats, strep throats, germs, illness or any other health topics, do not hesitate to contact us at Rapid Med Urgent Care Center. At Rapid Med, not only do we offer immediate medical attention for conditions that are not critical or life-threatening, but we also provide both primary and preventive care. This includes the preventative care that we provide through Type 2 diabetes screening.
Our Primary Care
- After Hours Care Available
- Continuity of Care
- Health Maintenance
- Patient Education
Our Preventative Care
- Alcohol Misuse Screening & Counseling
- Atherosclerosis Risk Factor Modification
- Blood Pressure Screening
- Cancer Screening
- Cholesterol Screening
- Depression Screening
- HIV-STD Screening
- Obesity Screening & Counseling
- Type 2 Diabetes Screening
- Weight Management
- Wellness Exams
In addition to visiting our offices at either location, you can receive the same great care and consideration by using our On Demand service through your phone, tablet, or computer.
Regardless of how you contact us, we can also assist you, or answer any questions regarding any of these other medical problems.
Our Urgent Care
- Allergies and Rashes
- Bronchitis and Pneumonia
- Evaluation of Acute Abdominal Pain
- Evaluation of Most Chest Pain
- Fevers – Down to 4 Months of Age
- Gastrointestinal Infections w/ Nausea & Vomiting
- Headaches and Migraines
- On-SiteUltrasound Diagnostics
- On-Site X-Rays
- Simple Gynecologic Problems
- Sinus Infections
- Skin Infections and Abscesses
- Sore Throats and Strep
- Urinary Tract Infections