Sore Throat? How To Know If It’s Strep

Black African woman coughing

If you have a sore throat that you just can’t kick this winter, be careful. It may be than the common viruses you may often get around this time. You might have streptococcal pharyngitis, commonly known as strep throat.

“The incidence of strep is higher during the winter and spring months,” said Alysha Hart, certified family nurse practitioner and advanced practice nurse. “About 20 percent of the patients that come into my office complaining of sore throat will have strep throat.”

Here’s a quick and dirty run down on strep throat, how to spot it, and how to handle it.

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It’s painful.

As its name suggests, strep throat can cause a really bothersome and painful sore throat, but it is likely to also cause other symptoms.

“Strep throat typically presents as an abrupt onset of sore throat, fever, swollen neck lymph nodes, enlarged tonsils — with or without the presence of white discharge, malodorous breath, rash, and/or nausea,” Hart said.

If symptoms are closer to those of a virus, strep may not be the cause, though.

“Upper respiratory symptoms including runny nose or cough suggest a viral infection, unless you are unfortunate to have both strep throat and another respiratory virus simultaneously,” Hart said.