A sore throat, also referred to as throat pain, is irritation or pain of the throat, usually caused by acute pharyngitis. Sore throats can be painful, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Fortunately, most of them are caused by a minor illness and don’t require an antibiotic treatment. Strep throat is a contagious bacterial infection with group A streptococcus that causes a sudden, severe sore throat. In this article we will discuss the characteristics of strep throat vs. sore throat so you will learn how to differentiate between the two conditions.
Causes of a sore throat
There are several conditions that can cause a sore throat. Many are caused by a viral illness, such as the common cold, mononulcosis, laryngitis, mumps, influenza and herpangina. Mononucleosis, also known as mono or the kissing disease, causes a persistent sore throat. A bacterial infection may also lead to a sore throat. It can occur from an infection or inflammation of the tonsils (tonsillitis), adenoids, an inflammation of the uvula (uvulitis) or the epligottis (epiglottitis), strep throat and in some cases from a sexually transmitted disease such as chlamydia or gonorrhea.
Symptoms of a sore throat
It is very hard to differentiate between the symptoms of strep throat vs. sore throat, due to the fact that they are very similar. The classic symptoms of a sore throat include pain, difficulty swallowing, a burning or a scratchy sensation in the back of the throat and tenderness along the neck. Less common symptoms include a mild fever, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, fatigue, headache, nausea or vomiting, hoarseness, a dry throat and fatigue.
Strep throat symptoms
Many people can’t differentiate strep throat vs. sore throat and think that any pain in the throat is strep, although these conditions are very different. A sore throat caused by a viral infection can be just as painful as strep throat, but if you have symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing and coughing, streptococcal infection is unlikely. The most common symptoms of strep throat are a sudden, severe sore throat, enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, white or red spots on the tonsils, neck tissue and difficulty swallowing. Less common symptoms include belly pain, headache, a red skin rash associated with scarlet fever, diminished appetite, body aches and vomiting.
When doctors compare strep throat vs. sore throat, they look for the following conditions: swollen lymph nodes, absence of cough, patches of pus in the throat and fever higher than 99.9 F. if you have all four symptoms, the probability of strep throat is 60%. If you don’t have any of these signs, there is a less than 3% probability of a strep infection. Based on the presence or absence of these symptoms, the medical professional will decide if the patient needs diagnostic testing. Moreover, strep throat is not associated with loss of voice, a runny nose, diarrhea and pinkeye, while colds are not associated with a rash, vomiting and fever. In some rare cases, strep throat and colds can appear simultaneously, causing all of the symptoms described above. If you experience a sore throat with fever or other strep throat common symptoms, seek advice from your doctor as soon as possible.