When you wake up in the morning, there’s nothing worse than having a dry, sore throat. Unless you have kids with a sore throat, too. Unsure of whether your symptoms are serious enough to call your doctor, you start thinking about what could have caused your throat to hurt so bad. Is it allergies? Are you coming down with a cold? Are your tonsils just swollen because you’re trying to fight something? Is it strep throat?
It could be any one of these conditions. There are many reasons your throat could be sore, and the symptoms are all very similar.
How to Tell if It’s Likely Strep Throat
Strep throat, caused by the streptococcus bacteria, typically produces the following symptoms:
● Sudden onset of sore throat, without other symptoms
● Severe sore throat
● Difficulty swallowing, accompanied by pain
● Fever above 101°F
● Swollen tonsils and/or lymph nodes in the neck
● White or yellow splotches on the tonsils and/or throat
It may also be accompanied by bad breath, headache, body aches, chills, loss of appetite, and even a skin rash known as scarlet fever. In children, it usually causes the same symptoms, however they may be more severe or painful than in adults.
Signs It’s Probably Not Strep
If you have had your tonsils removed, you probably do not have strep throat. Though it is still possible to catch strep, you are at a much lower risk than the general population that still has tonsils.
If you have a cough along with your sore throat, or experience a low-grade fever under 100°, it is not likely you have strep. You probably have a viral illness or are suffering from post-nasal drip, which can be caused by a cold or allergies.
Sore Throat? Go to the Doctor
Don’t prolong your symptoms by trying to power through a sore throat. Since untreated strep throat can cause rheumatic fever (an inflammatory condition that can affect the nervous system, heart, and joints), scarlet fever, and kidney inflammation, it should never go unchecked. A simple test can determine whether you have a strep infection.
The good news if you do have strep? Once antibiotic therapy is started, most patients start feeling better almost right away. And it reduces the time you are contagious from several weeks to just 24 hours, so you can get right back to work, school, or just being around people in general without worry of spreading your illness.
If you suspect you or your child has strep throat, call Patient Care Now at (267) 202-6433 for a same-day urgent care appointment, or use our easy online check-in tool that lets us know you’re coming to our Fairless Hills office.
Have you had strep before? Did you experience any complications? Have you had to get your tonsils removed due to frequent strep infections?