What’s The Difference Between A Cold Strep Throat And Tonsillitis
A sore throat is often the first sign of a cold. However, a sore throat from a cold often gets better or goes away after the first day or two. Other cold symptoms such as a runny nose and congestion may follow the sore throat.
Strep throat, which is an infection due to streptococcus bacteria, is another cause of sore throats and tonsillitis. With strep throat, the sore throat is often more severe and persists.
Tonsillitis is a painful inflammation or infection of the tonsils, the tissue masses located at the back of the throat.
Signs And Symptoms Of Sore Throat
The way youre most likely to tell the difference between a bacterial and a viral sore throat is by the symptoms. Below are three symptoms each of bacterial and viral sore throats that do not appear in the other type.
Painful swallowing is common to both bacterial and viral sore throats, but bacterial sore throats often come with red and swollen tonsils at the back of the throat. You may very well also see white patches or streaks of pus there. Fever is also common to both, but the fever associated with bacteria tends to be higher and more severe than with a viral infection.
Some people with a strep throat infection will also notice tiny red spots, called petechiae, on the roof of the mouth. These are actually tiny blood vessels, capillaries, that have broken as a result of the infection and are leaking little bits of blood.
Here are some more common symptoms that distinguish a bacterial sore throat from a viral one:
Here are some of the major signs to look for:
This is why an accurate medical diagnosis is necessary.
What Are The Potential Complications Of A Throat Infection
The most common complication is an abscess around the tonsils or at the back of the throat. Complications of an untreated throat infection can be serious.
In rare cases, if you delay treatment over an extended period of time, you could run the risk of . This occurs if the infection enters the bloodstream.
You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the unique treatment plan that you and your healthcare professional design. Complications of a bacterial throat infection include:
- an abscess around the tonsils or back of the throat
- blockage of the airway
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Clinical Course And Diagnosis
In otherwise healthy people, a sore throat is usually self-limited and rarely produces serious aftereffects. Typical GABHS patients are children aged 5 to 15 who present with fairly acute onset of fever and sore throat.
- Headache, nausea and vomiting, malaise, dysphagia, and abdominal pain might be present.
- Cough and rhinorrhea are usually absent.
- Edema and erythema of the tonsils and pharynx are usually present.
- Anterior neck glands might be enlarged and tender.
- A non-adherent pharyngeal exudate might be present.
What Is A Strep Test For A Sore Throat
A rapid strep test checks for streptococcus bacteria infection in the throat. The test is painless and takes very little time. The tip of a cotton swab is used to wipe the back of the throat. The swab is then tested right away. If the strep test is positive, you have strep throat. If the strep test is negative, you likely do not have strep throat. However, if there are strong signs of strep throat, your healthcare provider can do a different throat swab test that is sent to the lab to see if strep bacteria can be grown from it. A throat culture takes a couple of days for results.
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Living With A Sore Throat
Easing the pain of a sore throat is all you can do beyond treatment. The best remedies include:
- Take over-the-counter pain medicine. This includes brand names such as Tylenol, Motrin, and Aleve. Do not give children younger than 18 aspirin. Aspirin may cause Reyes syndrome. This can be fatal.
- Gargle with warm salt water. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt with 1 cup of water and stir.
- Suck on an over-the-counter throat lozenge. Hard candy works too.
- Eat a popsicle.
- Use a humidifier in your bedroom. Move it to other rooms you spend time in.
- Drink liquids to keep your throat from getting dry. Also, this helps prevent dehydration.
Medication That Can Suppress The Immune System
Carbimazole is a medicine that is used to treat an overactive thyroid gland. If you are taking carbimazole and develop a sore throat then you should have an urgent blood test. This is because a sore throat may be the first warning of a serious side-effect to carbimazole . This serious side-effect needs urgent treatment. Other medication, such as chemotherapy for cancer, or certain tablets called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs , can also affect the way your immune system copes with infection. If you are taking one of these types of medication and develop a sore throat, see your doctor urgently. They will arrange an immediate blood test.
The take home message is see a doctor if symptoms of a sore throat are severe, unusual, or do not ease within one week. In particular, seek urgent medical attention if you develop:
- Difficulty in breathing.
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Sore Throat Vs Strep Throat Five Things To Know
Signs and symptoms of a sore throat can just as easily be the beginnings of something more serious: strep throat caused by strep bacteria or the inflammation of your voice box caused by viral infection or a bacterial infection. Lets review the differences and when you need to take action and seek medical care.
Question: Sore throat? Swollen larynx? Losing your voice?
Losing your voice is usually a sign of laryngitis, which is most often caused by a virus and not that serious. However, it can be a nuisance, and if the condition lasts longer than one week, or is accompanied by fever, difficulty swallowing or breathing, then visit your doctor or your local urgent care to determine the cause and begin treatment.
Question: What are some of the causes of a sore throat?
A sore throat can be caused by allergens like pollen, dust and food, or sometimes bacterial infections. The most common culprits, however, are flu and viral infections, which dont respond to antibiotics.
Question: When is a sore throat leading to something more serious?
Signs and symptoms of a sore throat can just as easily be the beginnings of something more serious, like strep. Some of the signs include swollen, scratchy throat and tonsils, moderate fever, headache, swollen glands , and mild rash.
Question: What home remedies can help a sore throat?
Question: What are some symptoms of strep throat?
Question: Why does strep throat warrant a visit to your doctor or urgent care?
Pharyngitis Is It Viral Or Bacterial
Sore throat is a common problem during childhood and can be the result of a viral or bacterial infection.
The most likely cause of a childâs sore throat depends on the childâs age and the season. Testing may not be necessary if your child is having symptoms such as a prominent cough, hoarseness or other symptoms that suggest a viral infection. Testing children younger than 3 years old is usually not needed because bacterial pharyngitis is uncommon in this age group. Although, it may be necessary if other family members in direct contact with the child is diagnosed with Group A Strep Throat .
Viral sore throats are the most common.
It can be part of a common cold or other viral infections such as flu or mononucleosis. Viruses do not require antibiotic treatment. Unnecessary antibiotics can be harmful and may cause other side effects without helping the sore throat.
Bacterial sore throats are caused by a bacteria called Group A streptococcus.
This type of sore throat usually occurs during the winter and early spring and is most common in school-aged children.
Bacteria and viruses spread from one person to another person directly or indirectly . Hand washing is essential to preventing the spread of infection. Alcohol-based hand rubs are a good alternative for disinfection hands if a sink is not available.
It may be difficult for a parent to know whether their childâs sore throat is caused by Group A Streptococcus or a virus.
- Fever > 101 F or 38.3 C
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Top Tips To Manage A Sore Throat
As well as over-the-counter medications you can get to soothe your sore throat, here are a few tips you could try to manage it:
- Make sure to get plenty of rest and keep your fluid intake up
- Gargle with warm, salty water
- Drink plenty of water
- Eat cool or soft foods
- Avoid smoking or smoky places
- Suck ice cubes, ice lollies or hard sweets
Visit your local LloydsPharmacy and speak to a member of our healthcare team for more advice on treating your sore throat.
How Well Do Antibiotics Work To Treat A Sore Throat
Antibiotics dont work at all for a sore throat caused by a virus. These kinds of sore throats usually go away on their own in 4 to 5 days.
If you have strep throatwhich is caused by bacteriayour doctor may prescribe an antibiotic, such as penicillin. But strep throat goes away on its own in 3 to 7 days with or without antibiotics.
Antibiotics may not make you well faster. But they may shorten the time you are able to spread strep throat to others by a day or so.
Antibiotics may also lower the risk of a bacterial infection spreading to other parts of your body, such as your ears and sinuses. They can also prevent serious but rare problems such as rheumatic fever in children.
Antibiotics may cause side effects, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and skin rashes.
Besides side effects, there are other good reasons not to use antibiotics unless you really need them.
- Antibiotics cost money.
- You will probably have to see the doctor to get a prescription. This costs you time.
- If you take antibiotics when you dont need them, they may not work when you do need them. Each time you take antibiotics, you are more likely to carry some bacteria that were not killed by the medicine. Over time, these bacteria get tougher and can cause longer and more serious infections. To treat them, you may need different, stronger, and more costly antibiotics.
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The Importance Of Antibiotics
Antibiotics are an important tool in battling bacterial infections but completely unnecessary for viral infections. It is important for people to learn the difference between the two. According to a 2016 Center for Disease Control study, 1 in 3 prescriptions written in the United States are unnecessary. This adds up to an estimated 47 million unnecessary prescriptions written each year.
Viral throat infections are among the 44 percent of outpatient prescriptions written to treat acute respiratory infections. It is believed that 30 percent are unnecessary.
Its not only the chance of allergic reactions or diarrhea that comes with the needless use of antibiotics that is cause for alarm, but also the increased risk of a build-up of antibiotic resistance.
Sore Throat Decision Rule
The sore throat decision rule can identify both patients who are so likely to have GABHS that a confirmatory test is not needed and patients who are so unlikely to have GABHS that further testing is unrewarding. Using the rule will successfully identify most patients who need treatment for GABHS infection, while decreasing antibiotic use for sore throat by about 80%.
The 4 most useful features to look for in diagnosing GABHS are enlarged submandibular glands, a throat exudate, fever, and absence of cough and runny nose. Use the following sore throat rule to decide which adults are most likely to have GABHS infection:
- 0 or 1 feature presentGABHS is unlikely
- 2 features presentdiagnosis uncertain, consider further testing and
- 3 or 4 features presentGABHS is likely.
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How Can I Know Which Throat Infection I Have
Your GP will prescribe antibiotics if they believe you have a bacterial throat infection.
You should see a GP if:
- Your sore throat doesnt improve after a week
- You get sore throats regularly
- Youre worried about your sore throat
- You have a sore throat, a very high temperature or you feel hot and shivery
- You have a weakened immune system
What Is The Treatment For Strep Throat
Strep throat is treated using antibiotics, which kill the bacteria causing the infection. Antibiotics are often taken as pills or given as a shot. Penicillin and amoxicillin are common antibiotics used to treat strep throat. Other antibiotics are prescribed for people who are allergic to penicillin.
Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for antibiotic use. Take all of the medication, even if you feel better. You should feel better within a day or two. A person with strep throat should stay home until 24 hours after starting the antibiotic.
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How Are Sore Throats With Colds Treated
Although there is no cure for a sore throat caused by a cold virus, there are ways to help you feel more comfortable. Drinking warm liquids, gargling with warm salt water, sucking on ice chips, or taking an over-the-counter medicine may relieve symptoms of pain or fever. When you are sick with a cold, it is also important to get enough rest, eat a healthy diet, and drink plenty of fluids.
Treatment Options And Prevention For Viral Throat Infection
Most causes of viral throat infections will resolve on their own without a specific antiviral treatment, especially in otherwise healthy individuals. Therefore, most treatment is focused on improving symptoms until the infection clears, including rest and hydration, soothing measures and pain medication, environmental changes and specific antiviral treatment.
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How Is Strep Throat Different From A Sore Throat With A Cold
Strep throat is caused by an infection of streptococcus bacteria. Strep throat spreads by having contact with an infected person’s saliva or nasal secretions. Although strep throat is more common in children ages 5 to 15, it also occurs in adults. To diagnose strep throat, your doctor can check a rapid strep test or send a throat swab to the lab for a culture. In some cases, they may be able to diagnose strep based on your reported symptoms and other signs, such as white spots in the throat area, fever, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
An Early Sign Of Illness
A sore throat can be painful and annoying, but it is also an indication that something is not right with your body. Often a sore throat is one of the first signs and symptoms of a viral or bacterial infection. While this symptom is often a painful one to swallow, it can be a catalyst to start some home remedies for recovery.
A painful throat is often the first sign of an oncoming illness, but that is not always the case. In some cases a sore throat can be a simple reaction to something in the environment. In others it can be a warning sign of something more serious. A UK case study has found that persistent sore throat can be an early warning sign of cancer of the larynx.
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Sore Throat Remedies And Self
Over-the-counter medications might help, such as lozenges or throat gargles that contain local anaesthetic. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, avoid products that contain iodine . Your pharmacist can give you more information.
Eating soft foods such as ice cream, ice blocks or jelly, can help.
To ease a scratchy throat, try gargling with warm, salty water or drinking hot water with honey and lemon. Warm or iced drinks and ice blocks may be soothing.
Avoid foods that cause pain when you swallow. Try eating soft foods such as yoghurt, soup or ice cream.
It is important to stay well hydrated so drink plenty of water. If you have an existing medical condition, check with your doctor about how much water is right for you.
Keep the room at a comfortable temperature and rest and avoid heavy activity until symptoms go away.
Smoking or breathing in other peoples smoke can make symptoms worse. Try to avoid being around people who are smoking. If you are a smoker, try to cut down or quit. For advice on quitting smoking, visit the Quit Now website.
Find out more about self-care tips if you have a high temperature .
Signs And Symptoms Of A Throat Infection
The signs and symptoms present for a throat infection will vary with the type of infection present. In general, you are likely to see the following symptoms:
- Sore and possible swollen glands in the neck and jaw
- Painful or scratchy sensation in the back of the throat
- Pain in the throat that intensifies with swallowing or talking
- A hoarse or muffled voice
- If you have tonsils, they may be red or have white spots or pus
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