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When is a Sore Throat, Strep Throat?

November 21, 2016


Sore Strep ThroatYour throat feels like you swallowed a can of nails and chased it with a side of rubbing alcohol. It’s time to play the “Strep Throat or Just A Virus” game once again! In many cases, a sore throat is a symptom of a run-of-the-mill cold, but sometimes it can be caused by another viral or bacterial infection. Innovative Express Care will treat your sore throat no matter what the cause might be.

How do sore throats caused by colds differ from those caused by strep?

The two share some common symptoms, such as a sore throat and often a fever. Do you have a sore throat accompanied by a runny nose, sneezing, coughing or head and body aches? Congratulations, you likely have a run-of-the-mill cold, which is caused by a virus. Thank the guy in the middle seat on the airplane for not only encroaching on your armrest, but for sneezing directly into your face. Dude, cover your mouth! But strep is a different animal, caused by the Streptococcus bacteria and is an actual infection. You’ll not only want to die every time you swallow, but you may have a decreased appetite and disgusting white spots inside your throat. Reverse the camera on your phone and prepare to be horrified.

Should I see a doctor if I think I have strep throat?

The only way to confirm that you have strep throat is to do a rapid strep test. And no, there’s not an app for that. Making an accurate diagnosis is important to ensure that the prescribed treatment is appropriate. Antibiotics are an effective treatment for strep because they attack the bacteria that causes it. However, antibiotics are not effective against viruses, including those that cause the common cold. We do not prescribe these medications to cold sufferers, no matter how much you beg. You just have to tough it out and grab some tissues. A lot of tissues.

How do I treat my cold? My strep infection?

No medicine can cure a cold, so treatments are aimed at alleviating symptoms. Fever reducers, pain relievers and throat lozenges will help you feel better while your body fights off the virus. So will chicken soup, chocolate pudding and calling in sick so you can binge-watch some Netflix.

As a bacterial infection, strep throat can be more dangerous than a common cold. It can cause other illnesses like rheumatic fever, which can attack the heart valves. Our clinic can provide a diagnosis and prescribe treatment for a strep infection as soon as possible after your first symptoms appear.

You should start feeling better within a day or two of starting your antibiotic medication and be fully cured within ten days. How long you milk this with your boss is your business, but he may not believe your claims that the doctor ordered 30 days of bed rest in a warm climate. Be sure to tell us if you have a sensitivity to common antibiotics like penicillin or amoxicillin. If you continue to suffer symptoms after starting treatment or start experiencing new symptoms like nausea, skin rashes or swollen glands, don’t stop taking your medicine, but come see us immediately. Nobody has time for hideous rashes.

At Innovative Express Care, we want you to feel well all the time. If you feel a sore throat coming on and want to be sure it is not strep throat, our urgent care clinic is available to help.

Image Source: Robert Couse-Baker

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