Strep throat is a bacterial infection that causes a painful and scratchy throat and is best treated with antibiotics. However, most sore throats are caused by a virus and are best treated with soothing measures, such as tea with honey.
How do you know if you or your loved one has strep throat or a regular sore throat? Below are symptoms that are typical for sore throat.
Symptoms of Strep Throat
While strep throat is similar in some ways to a more typical sore throat, it does have more severe symptoms:
- Sudden onset of a sore throat
- Swollen neck glands
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty swallowing
- Small, red spots on the roof of the mouth
- Swollen and red tonsils, which sometimes have patches or streaks of pus
Although less common and mostly seen in children, strep throat can cause gastrointestinal symptoms as well, such as:
- Stomach pain
Scarlet fever is an Infection resulting from Streptococcus A. Signs and symptoms include a sore throat, fever, headaches, swollen lymph nodes, and a characteristic rash. The rash begins one to two days following the onset of symptoms. It appears as a diffuse redness of the skin and then turns into fine bumps that resemble goosebumps. The rash generally starts at the flexion of the elbow and other surfaces. The rash typically lasts about a week but then starts to peel for several weeks after the infection has cleared.
In some cases, a sore throat indicates a viral infection that cannot be treated with antibiotics. Symptoms that might indicate a viral infection include:
- Runny nose
- Hoarse voice
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
What To Do if You Have Strep Throat
Strep throat can cause rare but serious side effects if untreated, such as rheumatic fever. If you or your loved one has similar symptoms to strep throat, it is important to see your medical provider. A rapid strep test can help them quickly rule out strep throat and prescribe antibiotics if needed.
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