Strep throat is one of those sicknesses many people got when they were younger. It’s an incredibly common illness that affects millions of people each year.
While it’s less common to get strep throat as an adult, it’s still possible.
Luckily, strep is easy to test and cure with a quick swab and a round of antibiotics.
Without a lab culture, you cannot confirm on your own if you have strep throat or not. But if you have a persistent sore throat, there are a few things you can check for that might indicate you do have strep and that you should see a doctor.
The Soreness Doesn’t Go Away
The most common symptom of strep is a persistent sore throat. With strep, your throat aches more than it feels scratchy.
You can test this by swallowing food or water. If it’s painful or feels tight to swallow, this usually indicates you have strep. If the soreness goes away by drinking something soothing like tea with honey, you probably don’t have strep.
Feel Your Lymph Nodes
Lymph nodes are designed to trap infections and prevent them from spreading. They can become swollen and tender if you have strep.
To find your lymph nodes, tilt your chin up and place your fingers on either side of your neck right under your jawline. If your nodes feel larger than normal or tender, you probably have strep.
Smell Your Breath
Having worse than average bad breath can also be a sign of a bacterial infection in the mouth.
Bad breath is subjective. There also isn’t one “strep breath” smell, so it’s not a great way for someone else to diagnose you.
Check Your Mouth
If you think you have strep, stand in some good light and check out your mouth.
First, check out your tongue. Does it look like it’s covered in small red dots? Does it look like it has a slight white coating?
Next, look at the back of your throat. Are the tonsils swollen and red? Are there any blotches of white pus?
All of these symptoms are characteristic of strep throat.
Take Your Temperature
When your body is attacked by infections or viruses, it raises its internal temperature to kill the invaders. Since strep is an infection, your body’s temperature will increase to combat the bacteria.
Having an elevated temperature for too long can severely damage other proteins in your body, so see a doctor as soon as you can if you have a fever.
Strep is different for everyone but there are some other common symptoms to keep an eye out for. These include headaches, nausea, digestive issues, and general fatigue.
You should also consider the symptoms that are not present. Strep does not affect the nasal passages so any absence of congestion, runny nose, or sneezing can all point to strep.
Get That Persistent Sore Throat Checked Out
Unlike many viruses that affect the throat, strep will not go away on its own. You need a round of antibiotics to get rid of the infection and feel 100% again.
If you have a persistent sore throat and any of these other symptoms, visit us at Getwell Urgent Care.