Sore throat symptoms vary depending on the cause, but most often include:
If you have any of these symptoms, your MD Now provider will likely conduct a test to determine if what you have is strep throat.
Treatment for pain when swallowing generally depends on the cause. Your MD Now provider may identify what’s causing your pain simply listening to your symptoms and examining you. Based on this diagnosis, a recommendation may be made for an antifungal medication to treat a yeast infection, an antibiotic to treat a bacterial infection or some other treatment.
If you experience recurring tonsillitis, or tonsillitis that doesn’t respond to medication, you may require a tonsillectomy. Your MD Now provider can recommend an appropriate specialist, if needed.
The following may help for short-term relief:
Children should visit an MD Now provider for a sore throat that doesn’t go away with the first drink in the morning. Seek immediate care if your child experiences:
Adults should seek treatment for a sore throat with any of the following:
Regardless of symptoms, if you or your child has difficulty breathing or swallowing, call 911 for immediate medical attention. For non-emergency medical treatment, visit your local MD Now Urgent Care.
Strep throat, or streptococcal sore throat, is most common in children. While a virus causes most sore throats, strep throat is caused by a bacterial infection known as group A strep.
Strep throat symptoms generally include:
Additional strep throat symptoms may include headache, nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain, especially in children. A rash known as scarlet fever, although less common, is another strep throat symptom.
Sore throats caused by an infection typically exhibit additional symptoms beyond those caused by allergies or acid reflux. These symptoms can include:
Sore throat treatment is based on the cause of the infection. A viral infection is responsible for most sore throats. Others are caused by group A strep, tonsillitis, croup, laryngitis, or even cancer. Your MD Now provider will prescribe sore throat treatment or recommend an appropriate specialist once the cause of your symptoms has been diagnosed.
Strep infection is highly contagious and spreads through direct or respiratory droplet contact with someone previously infected. The incubation period for both a viral infection and strep infection is typically two to five days.
Those who share close quarters—such as a home, classroom, day care, or college dorm—have a higher risk of catching a strep infection. In household environments, the risk is approximately 40%.
If you’ve been exposed to someone with the infection and develop strep throat symptoms, see your MD Now provider promptly. The sooner you begin treatment, the more quickly you’ll recover. You’ll also be less likely to pass the infection along to others, such as family members.
If your sore throat is caused by strep, you will need a course of antibiotics to kill the infection. To determine between what is strep throat and what is simply a sore throat caused by a virus, your MD Now provider will perform a rapid strep test, which involves swabbing your throat.
If the test confirms a strep infection, you will be prescribed antibiotics to help you recover more quickly. If the test result is negative, a second test, using DNA or a lab culture, may be conducted just to make sure.
A second test is especially important for children and teens, since they sometimes develop rheumatic fever from strep throat. For adults, this step is rarely necessary, since they have a lower risk for rheumatic fever.
The content provided on the MD Now website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for receiving medical care and treatment from a qualified healthcare provider. Never delay seeking advice, evaluation, and treatment from a medical professional because of what you’ve read on this site, since the information provided may not apply to you or your symptoms.