Is my sore throat indicative of COVID-19 or strep throat? Let's distinguish between the two. COVID-19 is a viral infection, sharing respiratory symptoms with the flu, colds, and other viral infections. In contrast, strep throat is a bacterial infection caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria, known for its high contagion through respiratory droplets or direct contact.
While patients are presenting with sore throats, not all cases are COVID-19-related at AFC Urgent Care Dedham. We aim to guide you in recognizing distinct symptoms, helping you determine whether your sore throat stems from COVID-19 or strep throat.
Symptoms of Strep Throat vs. COVID-19:
Strep throat is not a symptom of COVID-19; it's a separate bacterial infection with similarities like a painful, sore, and scratchy throat. Both conditions have specific tests to identify the causative agent.
Symptoms of Strep Throat include:
- Sore throat that starts rapidly
- Pain when swallowing
- Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or pus streaks
- Tiny, red spots (petechiae) on the roof of the mouth
- Swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck
Symptoms typically NOT related to Strep throat:
- Runny nose
If symptomatic with COVID-19 and a sore throat, respiratory symptoms accompany it:
- Difficulty breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of smell and/or taste
New COVID-19 Variants and Safety Measures:
Be aware that symptoms may vary with new variants; currently, JN.1 and HV.1 are the newest variants. In some cases, symptoms may not be present, but testing is still recommended to prevent potential spread.
Stay updated on COVID-19 vaccines, available at local pharmacies. While fully vaccinated individuals usually experience mild symptoms, severe illness is possible for the unvaccinated, elderly, or those with pre-existing conditions.
Treating Strep Throat:
As strep throat is bacterial, antibiotics are necessary. Completing the entire prescription is crucial to prevent bacterial resurgence. Remedies for a sore throat include warm liquids, saltwater gargles, cold liquids, throat lozenges, and pain medications.
AFC Urgent Care Dedham offers testing for both strep throat and COVID-19. Rapid molecular tests for COVID-19 and rapid strep tests are available. Testing is the initial step to rule out other winter illnesses, and if strep is confirmed, antibiotics can be prescribed on the same day.
AFC Urgent Care Dedham is here for you every day of the week, offering the convenience of both scheduled appointments and walk-ins. We accept most insurance plans, making our comprehensive healthcare services easily accessible. Streamline your billing experience with our user-friendly online payment system – settling your bill is just a few clicks away. Trust us to provide prompt, reliable, and accessible health care tailored to your convenience.