Understanding The Differences Between Strep Throat And COVID-19

February 6, 2023

Woman Understanding The Differences Between Strep Throat And COVID-19 With AFC Urgent Care Malden

Is it COVID-19 or is it Strep throat? That question can cause a lot of confusion. Having COVID-19 isn’t fun. Some people don’t even know they have covid, but others are very aware they have COVID. Strep throat may not be a pandemic, but it is painful. 

You can’t forget that we also have colds, flu and strep throat to worry about this season. Those illnesses also come with sore throats too. Figuring out where your sore throat is coming from can be confusing. But, AFC Urgent Care Malden is here to help explain the differences in our guide on sore throats and whether or not it’s strep throat or COVID-19.

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

COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) is a disease caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2 and was discovered in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. It is very contagious and has quickly spread around the world.COVID-19 most often causes respiratory symptoms that can feel much like a cold, a flu, or pneumonia. Anyone can have mild to severe 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. With that being said, it is important to get the latest COVID-19 vaccine to stay up to date. Most people who have had all of the available vaccines will experience mild symptoms, but some people, mostly those who have not been vaccinated, the elderly or those with pre-existing conditions, can become severely ill.

Strep Throat Isn’t A Viral Infection, It's A Bacterial Infection!

Strep throat is caused by a bacterial infection. There are rarely respiratory symptoms with strep throat. If you have strep throat you’ll 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, Strep Throat has a specific test. The test will show if the bacteria causing the infection is present or not. 

Testing For Strep Throat

Just like COVID-19 testing, there are tests to determine if you have strep throat. A rapid throat swab test is usually a first step to determining if you have strep throat or not. It's best to get tested for everything. There is a rapid strep test that is performed via a throat swab.

Testing for strep throat is one way to rule out what’s causing your sore throat. The next is to consider flu shots, COVID-19 vaccines and booster and COVID-19 testing.

AFC Urgent Care Can Test You For COVID-19 And Strep Throat

We are now entering the second half of winter and people are coming down with COVID, flu, colds and strep throat. As your local urgent care, we offer flu shots, COVID-19 rapid molecular testing, rapid ‘Back to Work’ COVID Antigen tests, rapid strep tests, and many more urgent care services, 7 days a week.

You can walk-in anytime, or you can make an appointment online. We encourage you to get tested for strep throat so we can help guide you to the next steps for treatment and recovery. If you do test positive for strep throat, we can help start you on treatment with antibiotics. We highly suggest finishing your entire prescription as strep can come back if you stop your antibiotics too soon!

AFC Urgent Care in Malden is always here for you and your urgent care needs.


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