Lessons in Family Medicine: Strep?

Lessons in Family Medicine: Strep?

Lessons in Family Medicine: Strep?

One of the biggest problems with strep throat is that it’s a bit difficult to tell apart from a common sore throat. However, the former is much more serious, and requires a visit to your family doctor, while the latter is likely to pass in a few days. How do you tell the difference?

Sore Throats

The common sore throat can be caused by any number of things, from allergies and bacterial infections to simple dehydration, and it’s often joined by other symptoms. However, it’s pretty obvious that the defining characteristic of a sore throat is, well, the throat pain–and that’s why this simple discomfort causes trouble when it comes to identifying strep throat. It’s too easy to try self-diagnosing strep throat when throat pain becomes more severe, but that’s not likely to be accurate. Fortunately for your doctor (if not so fortunately for you), there are some additional symptoms that are unique to strep throat, so you don’t have to worry about identifying which problem you have based on pain severity alone.

Sore Throat vs. Strep

Let the family medicine experts explain the differences between a sore throat and strep throat symptoms!

  • Spots. An easy way to identify strep apart from a common sore throat is by identifying the presence of spots. If the throat is red and raw-looking, the tonsils were swollen, and the skin covered in white spots, this is no common sore throat. Those white spots are pus pockets, and they’re quite reliable when it comes to identifying strep.
  • Other symptoms. Most of the time, if there are additional cold-like symptoms–a runny nose, cough, and more, it’s likely that you’re dealing with a common sore throat. However, a fever can indicate strep throat, especially over 101 F, so always be vigilant.
  • Rash. If you notice a pink rash with sandpaper-like consistency anywhere on your skin, you might have scarlet fever, which is directly related to strep-causing bacteria. Although Scarlet fever is treated easily with antibiotics, it’s important to get to a family doctor as soon as possible.

Interested in more info on sore throats and strep throat? Looking for family doctors? Contact us today!

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