Waking up in the morning with a sore throat is no fun. Your mouth is dry, it hurts to swallow, and you’re not sure if the pain is caused by drainage, an upper respiratory infection, or strep throat.
The majority of sore throats are caused by a virus. Only three in 10 kids with a sore throat are diagnosed with strep, and only one in 10 adults with a sore throat have strep.
Given those statistics, you may be tempted to skip the doctor’s visit to get tested for strep, but if your symptoms persist, you shouldn’t ignore them — strep throat can lead to other, more dangerous conditions.
Here’s what the team at Physician’s Medical Primary Care wants you to know about strep throat.
What is strep throat?
Strep throat is an infection in the throat and tonsils caused by bacteria known as group A Streptococcus. These bacteria are very contagious, so it’s easy to get sick from respiratory droplets or direct contact with others who have it.
Symptoms typically include a red, sore throat, white spots on your tonsils, pain when you swallow, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. Other less-common symptoms include headache, nausea, and vomiting.
If your doctor thinks you have strep throat, they’ll swab your throat and do a rapid test that will show if group A strep bacteria are causing your symptoms. If the test is negative, they may still do a throat culture, which takes longer but can sometimes find infections the rapid test misses.
The treatment for strep throat is a course of antibiotics that will kill the bacteria. You usually feel better within a day or two of starting the medicine.
Don’t ignore it
If you have symptoms of strep throat, you may be tempted to just tough it out, but this is a bad idea. If left untreated, strep throat can spread through your body and potentially cause other health issues, including:
- Rheumatic fever (affects the heart, joints, brain, and skin)
- Post-Streptococcal glomerulonephritis (a kidney disease)
- Sinus and ear infections
- Abscesses around your tonsils and neck
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck
Taking your antibiotics will keep this spread from occurring. You should also take the antibiotic exactly as directed — don’t stop taking it just because you’ve started to feel better. Stick with the entire prescription until the end.
Not only will treating strep keep the condition from spreading to other parts of your body and other people, but you’ll also feel better much faster than you would without medicine.
If you need to be tested and treated for strep throat, the team at Physicians Medical Primary Care will be glad to take care of you. Pick our location closest to you and call or book an appointment online to knock that sore throat out.