What is a sore throat and what are the symptoms?
A sore throat is discomfort, pain or scratchiness in the throat.
Like colds, the vast majority of sore throats are caused by viral infections.
This means that most sore throats will not respond to antibiotics.
Many people experience a mild sore throat at the beginning of a cold.
When the nose or sinuses become irritated, nasal drainage can run down the back of the throat and aggravate it,
especially at night, causing pain or discomfort in the throat.
Strep Throat vs. Sore Throat
What is strep throat and what are the symptoms?
Strep throat, on the other hand, is caused by Streptococcus bacteria and cannot be diagnosed by looking at the throat alone.
A healthcare provider must perform a rapid strep test in order to positively diagnose strep throat.
With strep throat, the sore throat is often more severe and worsens when swallowing. Headache, fever, and a
general ill feeling often accompany strep throat. Additional symptoms of strep throat may also include white,
draining patches on the throat, and swollen or tender lymph glands in the neck. Children may experience nausea and
vomiting associated with strep throat. Strep throat can be spread from person to person and is most common in children.
What is the treatment?
It is important to visit a healthcare provider to determine the cause of the sore throat.
A Take Care Health Provider can examine the throat and determine if further tests are needed.
While there is no cure for a sore throat caused by a cold virus, to speed healing of your sore throat and cold,
be sure to get enough rest. Eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of fluids can also help speed healing.
Throat lozenges and over the counter pain medicine help with pain relief associated with sore throat.
While a sore throat associated with a cold will resolve on its own, strep throat usually requires antibiotics which may be prescribed
by your Take Care Health Provider upon a positive strep throat test. Antibiotics are not wise if the strep test or throat culture is
negative. Taking antibiotics when not needed, such as for a viral cold, will not only be ineffective in treating the sore throat,
but is a cause for antibiotic resistance. It is important to finish the complete course of antibiotics even if symptoms get better,
as this will help prevent any complications or recurrence of the infection.
Antibiotics and Proper Antibiotic Usage