COVID-19 or Strep Throat? My Throat Hurts!

February 1, 2024

Boy holding his neck while waiting for a strep throat test at AFC Urgent Care Danbury because he is presenting symptoms of strep throat

Have you ever experienced that irritating, scratchy sensation that initiates at the back of your throat and swiftly transforms into an uncomfortable burning feeling? The question arises: Could it be COVID-19, or is it possibly strep throat? While dealing with COVID-19 is certainly no walk in the park, strep throat, though not pandemic-level or life-threatening, can be a painful and potentially contagious ailment.

Recognizing the potential confusion between COVID-19 and strep throat, AFC Urgent Care Danbury has crafted an informative guide to help you distinguish between the two.

Is It Strep Throat Or COVID Sore Throat?

COVID-19, stemming from the SARS-CoV-2 virus discovered in December 2019, has proven highly contagious, rapidly spreading worldwide. While commonly associated with respiratory symptoms akin to a cold, flu, or pneumonia, COVID-19 doesn't limit its impact to the lungs and respiratory system alone.

Some individuals may carry the virus without exhibiting symptoms, yet still have the potential to transmit it to others. Symptoms typically surface 2-14 days post-exposure and vary from mild to severe.

Typical COVID-19 Symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat

It's essential to note that symptoms may evolve with different variants; the current concerns being HN.1 and JN.1. Maintaining an updated vaccination status with booster shots is strongly recommended as an effective preventive measure against severe illness.

Strep Throat: A Bacterial Affliction Treatable with Antibiotics

In contrast, strep throat results from a bacterial infection and can be effectively treated with antibiotics. Respiratory symptoms are seldom associated with strep throat. Symptoms indicative of strep throat include a rapidly onset sore throat, pain while swallowing, fever, red and swollen tonsils (potentially with white patches or streaks of pus), and swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck.

Symptoms Typically NOT Related to Strep Throat:

  • Cough
  • Runny nose

Similar to COVID-19, there's a specific test for strep throat, determining the presence of bacteria causing the infection.

The Best Way to Confirm: Get Tested for Strep Throat and COVID-19 at AFC Urgent Care Danbury

AFC Urgent Care Danbury provides rapid molecular tests, rapid antigen tests, and PCR tests for COVID-19 seven days a week to offer prompt information and reliable results. For concerns related to strep throat, we also offer rapid strep tests and throat swab culture tests to identify bacteria growth, enabling us to initiate antibiotic treatment if needed.

Our facility operates seven days a week, catering to both scheduled appointments and walk-ins. AFC Urgent CareDanbury Main St accepts most insurances, ensuring accessible and timely healthcare services. Take advantage of our user-friendly online payment system—settle your bill conveniently with just a few clicks.

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Call (203) 826-2140 for more information about our Danbury urgent care services.