Can COVID-19 cause a sore throat? What about strep?

February 6, 2023

Woman showing symptoms of strep throat and is waiting to be seen at AFC Urgent Care Southington for a strep throat test and diagnosis

Have a sore throat? Don’t automatically assume it’s COVID-19. We don’t want to forget about the other winter illnesses out there!

During the winter season, it is common for most of us to get sick with the flu, colds, COVID, RSV and other illnesses. But when it comes to sore throats, you should get a checkup because it could potentially be strep throat. Strep throat is very common in the colder months and is also highly contagious, if you sneeze, cough or share things with others. It is also very common among children, especially when in environments like schools where germs can easily spread. AFC Urgent Care Southington has created a guide around strep throat and what the differences are between strep and COVID-19. 

COVID-19 Has A New Variant Called B.1.1.529

Although this isn’t anything new, it is still important to be up to date with the new COVID variants. Why? because we’ve been dealing with new mutations of the COVID-19 virus for 3 years now and each variant presents symptoms differently, are more contagious than previous variants and shouldn’t be thought of as a “thing of the past”. COVID is still putting people in the hospitals, especially those who are not up to date with their COVID-19 booster shots 

At the same time, we shouldn’t ignore other common winter  illnesses  

What Are The Differences Between Strep Throat And COVID-19 Symptoms?

Though there may be some similarities in symptoms, COVID-19 and strep throat have distinguishable factors. 

Strep throat is an infection in the throat and tonsils caused by bacteria called group A Streptococcus (group A strep).Group A strep bacteria are very contagious. Generally, people spread the bacteria to others through

  • Respiratory droplets
  • Direct contact

 strep throat symptoms can include:

  • Sore throat that can start very quickly
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Fever
  • Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus
  • Tiny, red spots (petechiae) on the roof of the mouth (the soft or hard palate)
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck

Rarely, people can spread group A strep bacteria through food that is not handled properly. It usually takes two to five days for someone exposed to group A strep bacteria to become ill with strep throat.

If you are symptomatic with COVID-19 and have a sore throat, you may experience the following symptoms: 

  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Congestion
  • Loss of smell and/or taste

AFC Urgent Care Southington has both COVID-19 and Strep tests

AFC Urgent Care Southington has both COVID-19 tests (PCR/Antigen) and a Strep test which will include a swab to determine if there is bacteria growth, and we can treat your strep infection with antibiotics. Let’s just keep in mind that not everything is COVID. Winter not only brings the cold, it brings unwanted illnesses as well.

AFC Urgent Care Southington is open 7 days a week. Feel free to make an appointment with us or walk right in!

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