5 Signs You Have Strep Throat

Most sore throats are caused by a virus, but strep throat is different. This bacterial infection in the throat and tonsils is caused by group A streptococcus bacteria. The bacteria easily spread from person to person through coughing, sneezing or touching an infected surface. Anyone can get strep throat, but children in school or daycare are especially at risk of catching it from an infected child.

Strep Throat Signs and Symptoms

Do you think you or your child has strep throat? These five signs and symptoms are the most common indicators of the condition.

  1. Sore throat

Sore throats start with a sudden tickle, and before you know it, it’s painful to swallow and your throat feels scratchy. It may become uncomfortable to eat or drink. Acidic, spicy or dry foods can further irritate a sore throat.

  1. Fever

Why do you get fever with strep throat? A fever is a sign your body is fighting an infection by “turning up the heat” to kill any harmful bacteria.

  1. Red and swollen tonsils

Your tonsils may also develop white patches or areas of pus.

  1. Red spots in the mouth

These tiny spots, known as petechiae, can often be seen on the roof of the mouth.

  1. Swollen lymph nodes on the neck under the jawbones

The lymph nodes on either side of your neck—under your jawbone—may feel enlarged and tender or look red.

Along with those five signs and symptoms, you may also experience a headache, lower stomach pain, rash, loss of appetite or nausea.

Strep Throat vs. Other Illnesses

Strep throat causes symptoms that are similar to other illnesses, which can make it difficult to determine what you have on your own. All of the following share its symptoms:

  • Allergies

Shared symptom: sore throat

  • Cold

Shared symptoms: sore throat, sometimes fever

Shared symptoms: sore throat, fever, headache, nausea

Shared symptoms: sore throat, fever, headache, nausea

Don’t try to self-diagnose yourself. You can’t tell whether or not you have a strep infection by only looking inside your throat. It’s important to see a healthcare provider, such as those available at River’s Edge Hospital’s Urgent Care Department, for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Treating strep throat quickly will prevent further complications, such as rheumatic fever, scarlet fever or kidney disease.

Diagnosing and Treating Step Throat

Call your primary care physician or visit River’s Edge Hospital’s Urgent Care Department if you suspect that you have strep throat. The healthcare provider will complete a rapid strep test to collect a sample of fluids from your throat. If the test is positive, the provider will likely prescribe a round of antibiotics to rid the harmful bacteria and get you back to feeling better within a few days.

Sometimes it’s difficult to make a last-minute visit with your physician, especially if you need an appointment after work or school. Don’t delay care for strep throat if you can’t visit your regular doctor. River’s Edge Hospital’s Urgent Care Department, located at the main entrance of the hospital, offers convenient walk-in care for minor illnesses such as strep throat. At River’s Edge Hospital Urgent Care Department, our providers can give a rapid strep test and order a prescription for antibiotics. Our provider can also tell you when you or your child will be ready to go back to normal activities, as well as provide tips for soothing a sore throat.

Need quick care for a sore throat? River’s Edge Hospital’s Urgent Care Department can help. We are conveniently open Monday–Friday, from noon to 7:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 



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