CareNow® - December 12, 2011
by CareNow

A sore throat can be the first sign of several illnesses, ranging from the common cold to strep throat. If you or your child is suffering from a sore throat, you want to know whether it will simply take time to run its course as a cold or if it is one of the strep throat symptoms that will only get worse. Here’s how to decide whether you need to medical attention for your sore throat.

How Long the Sore Throat Lasts and Other Symptoms

A sore throat caused by a cold generally will last only a day or two and be followed by other cold symptoms, such as nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, headache and fever.

A strep throat symptom may be, a severe sore throat which is sudden and persistent. Other strep throat symptoms accompanying the sore throat may include painful swallowing, loss of appetite, fever, headache, swollen neck glands, muffled voice and belly pain. These symptoms can be treated with antibiotics, which you can get from a CareNow.

Viral or Bacterial Infection

A sore throat can be caused by either a virus or bacteria. If a virus is the cause you cannot be treated with antibiotics. To speed your healing, get plenty of rest, eat a healthy, balanced diet and drink lots of fluids.

Strep throat is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus. Strep throat is common between ages 5 and 13, though it can also occur in adults. Your doctor can perform a strep test to ensure you or your child isn’t accidentally prescribed antibiotics for a common cold, which can make future infections worse.

When to See a Doctor

If you have any of the strep throat symptoms listed above, we recommend you visit a CareNow, where you will be tested for strep. This is a quick, painless process that involves swabbing the back of your throat. If the rapid test is negative a culture can be sent out to confirm the negative test result. If you test positive, you will be prescribed antibiotics for 7 to 10 days. It’s essential that you take all your prescribed medications, even if the symptoms subside.

Visit CareNow for more information. Also, be sure to use our Web Check-In, and we’ll call you when it’s time to come in so that your wait is minimized.