Do I Have COVID-19 or Strep Throat?

February 6, 2023

Woman holding her neck while waiting for a strep throat test at AFC Urgent Care Danbury because she is presenting symptoms of strep throat

Have you ever had that scratchy, itchy feeling? The one that starts in the back of your throat and suddenly turns into a painful burning sensation? Is it COVID-19 or is it Strep throat? Having COVID-19 isn’t fun.Strep throat may not be a pandemic or life threatening, but it is painful, and can be contagious.

AFC Urgent Care Danbury knows that the differences between COVID-19 and strep can be confusing, so we’ve created a helpful guide to differentiate between the two.

COVID-19 Causes A Sore Throat But It Isn’t Strep

COVID-19 is a disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2 was discovered in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. It is very contagious and as we have seen has quickly spread around the world. COVID-19 most often causes respiratory symptoms that can feel much like a cold, a flu, or pneumonia. But, COVID-19 may attack more than your lungs and respiratory system. 

Some people don’t even have symptoms, but can still pass it on to others around them. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms.

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

Keep in mind that symptoms may change with the variant. The current variant is Omicron B.1.1.529. We highly suggest keeping up to date with vaccines and booster shots as they’re highly effective at preventing severe illness.

Strep Throat Is A Bacterial Infection!

Strep throat is caused by a bacterial infection, and therefore can be treated with antibiotics. . There are rarely respiratory symptoms with strep throat. If you have strep throat you may  experience the following symptoms:

  • Sore throat that can start very quickly
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Fever
  • Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck

Symptoms typically NOT related to Strep throat:

  • Cough
  • Runny nose

Just like COVID-19, there is a specific test for Strep Throat. The test will show if the bacteria causing the infection is present or not. 

The Best Way to Know What You Have Is To Get Tested For Strep Throat and COVID-19 at AFC Urgent Care Danbury Centers

AFC Urgent Care Danbury offers rapid molecular tests, rapid Antigen tests and PCR tests for COVID-19 7 days a week to inform people and ensure their results.

If there are concerns for strep throat, we also offer rapid strep tests and throat swab culture tests to determine if there is bacteria growth for strep, and we can treat it with antibiotics. AFC Danbury is always here for you and your urgent care needs. Make an appointment with us or walk in 7 days a week.

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

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