Strep vs. Sore Throat: When to Seek Primary Care
Sore throats are one of the most common reasons people visit primary care doctors and emergency rooms for urgent care services. In some cases, you can treat a sore throat at home. However, it is also important to know when you need medical care. Read on to learn when you should see your doctor for a sore throat.
Urgent care for a sore throat
A sore throat is pain, irritation or scratchiness of the throat and it usually becomes worse when a person swallows. A viral infection like the flu or a cold is a common cause of a sore throat. Strep throat is a type of sore throat that is caused by bacteria. Some medications can help cure strep throat and prevent its complications.
Strep vs. sore throat
A wide variety of things can cause sore throats in both adults and children. Things such as bacteria, allergies, or viruses can cause pain in the throat. A sore throat represents a symptom, which has an underlying cause. A doctor has to identify the cause in order to treat it.
A sore throat that is usually accompanied by fever and sometimes even a headache, rash or stomach ache may indicate strep throat. Viruses are known to cause many sore throats. Infections that cause a sore throat may result in symptoms and signs like a runny nose and cough. Although antibiotics do not have an effect on viral infections, a doctor may recommend medications to manage the pain.
When to see a doctor
It is important to seek medical attention if a person or a child has strep. Some common symptoms of strep throat include throat pain that often comes on quickly, fever and chills, painful swallowing, headache and a rash. Other symptoms include swollen and red tonsils sometimes with streaks of pus and stomach ache. Seeking medical care immediately is recommended if an adult or child has any difficulty swallowing or breathing.
In non-emergency cases, a person should contact a primary care doctor or pediatrician. Health care providers may swab a patient’s throat and perform a rapid strep test in the office. If it turns out negative, the doctor may conduct a second test to make sure. If the test turns out positive, the doctor will prescribe an antibiotic.
A person can also turn to an emergency room for urgent care. This is recommended when a person does not want to wait for hours or even days to see a pediatrician or primary care physician. The facilities usually test and treat strep throat. Visiting an emergency room for urgent care is convenient because a person does not need to schedule an appointment and the wait time is short.
You should call your doctor if you or your child has any of the signs and symptoms of a sore throat. Your doctor may prescribe medications that will help cure strep throat, relieve its symptoms and prevent any complications. Visiting an emergency room is also ideal especially if you do not want to wait for a long time. If you have any questions about a sore throat, get in touch with your doctor today.
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