Strep Throat

Strep Throat

Is your throat feeling like it's on fire? Is swallowing becoming difficult and are you experiencing body aches? You may be wondering if it's just a common sore throat or possibly strep throat. The best way to determine is by getting tested for strep with the help of a medical professional. If you suspect strep, consider visiting Vital Urgent Care where our compassionate team can diagnose your condition through onsite tests and recommend the appropriate treatment for you to start feeling better.

While waiting for relief, there are some measures you can take at home to alleviate discomfort and help you or your child feel more like your usual healthy selves:

  • Get plenty of rest and stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids.
  • Opt for soft, cold foods to soothe your irritated throat.
  • Gargle with warm salt water several times a day.
  • Use throat lozenges or sprays to temporarily numb the pain.

It's important to consult your primary care provider before trying these remedies for small children.

Let's delve into strep throat a bit more. It is caused by a highly contagious bacterial infection known as Streptococcus pyogenes or group A streptococcus. This infection can make your throat extremely sore, especially when swallowing. To alleviate symptoms and prevent complications like rheumatic fever, antibiotics are usually prescribed for strep. Strep throat is more common in children, especially during late fall to early spring when it tends to be more prevalent.

Strep bacteria can be easily spread through respiratory droplets when infected individuals talk, cough, or sneeze. Practicing proper hygiene is crucial in preventing the spread of strep. It can be transmitted by breathing in these droplets or by touching surfaces contaminated with the bacteria and then unknowingly transferring them to your mouth, nose, or throat. Sharing items like water bottles or utensils with an infected person can also lead to strep throat.

Some infected individuals may not exhibit symptoms like coughing or sneezing, yet they can still spread the bacteria. However, those with strep throat symptoms are much more contagious. To minimize the risk of contracting the infection, it is advisable to limit contact with infected individuals and maintain good hand hygiene. Frequent hand washing is essential, especially when caring for those who are ill. When soap and water are not readily available, using hand sanitizer can help maintain proper hand hygiene.

The symptoms of strep throat can manifest suddenly and include a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, red or swollen tonsils, tiny red spots at the back of the mouth, tender and swollen lymph nodes in the neck, fever, headache, nausea or vomiting (common in children), and body aches or chills. In severe cases, loss of appetite, high fever, and difficulty swallowing or breathing may occur, requiring immediate medical attention.

To diagnose strep throat, it is crucial to seek testing and treatment from a medical professional, as many of the symptoms can overlap with viral infections and other illnesses. Vital Urgent Care is well-equipped to administer strep tests during convenient hours. There are two main tests used to diagnose strep:

  1. Rapid antigen test: This is typically the initial test performed as it provides quick results. During this test, your provider will swab your throat to check for the presence of strep antigens. A positive result indicates a strep infection.
  2. Throat culture: If the rapid antigen test comes back negative but strep is still suspected, a throat culture may be performed. A swab is taken from the back of the throat and tonsils, and the sample is sent to a lab for testing and bacterial culturing. The results of this test may take several days to receive.

In addition to testing, your provider will inquire about your symptoms and medical history related to strep throat.

If strep throat is confirmed, your healthcare provider will recommend appropriate treatment, usually in the form of antibiotics such as penicillin or amoxicillin. With timely and proper antibiotic treatment, you should start feeling better within a day or two. If you or your child's symptoms do not improve after 48 hours of starting antibiotics, it is advisable to contact your provider.

Remember, seeking medical attention and adhering to the prescribed treatment is crucial for managing strep throat effectively.


1 CDC: Strep Throat: All You Need to Know. Last updated January 14, 2022. Accessed April 20, 2022.

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