How To Know The Difference Between Strep Throat And Covid-19

February 1, 2024

Man holding her sore throat and is unsure if it is COVID-19 or strep throat

Can a sore throat be caused by COVID-19? Indeed, COVID-19 can result in a sore throat, but it's important to note that it differs from Strep Throat. In our current era, every symptom often triggers thoughts of COVID-19, yet we must not overlook other illnesses, particularly during the winter season. The flu, Strep throat, and colds are among the various winter ailments affecting us.

To provide clarity, AFC Urgent Care Springfield is offering a guide to help distinguish between a sore throat caused by COVID-19 and Strep throat.

Symptoms of Strep Throat:

Strep throat, caused by the bacteria group A Streptococcus (group A strep), is highly contagious. Transmission commonly occurs through respiratory droplets or direct contact. Unlike viral infections, Strep throat is bacterial. Symptoms include:

  • Sore throat
  • Painful swallowing
  • Fever
  • Red and swollen tonsils, occasionally with white patches or pus streaks
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck's front

Symptoms typically NOT associated with Strep throat:

  • Cough
  • Runny nose

Similar to COVID-19, Strep Throat involves a specific test, utilizing a swab to determine the presence of bacteria causing the infection.

COVID-19 Symptoms:

COVID-19, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, surfaced in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. It is highly contagious and primarily manifests as respiratory symptoms resembling a cold, flu, or pneumonia. The key differences between Strep Throat and COVID-19 lie in their nature as a bacterial and viral infection, respectively. COVID-19 symptoms include:

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

These symptoms may vary with the virus variant, and some individuals may remain asymptomatic, yet still pose a risk of transmission.

We strongly recommend obtaining updated booster shots and vaccines for COVID-19. While most fully vaccinated individuals experience mild symptoms, those unvaccinated, elderly, or with pre-existing conditions may face severe illness. Although our facility does not administer the COVID-19 vaccine, you can easily obtain it at local pharmacies.

Rapid Strep Tests at AFC Urgent Care Springfield:

If uncertainty arises about whether it's strep throat, AFC Urgent Care Springfield offers "rapid strep tests." This quick swab of the throat provides same-day results, checking for the presence of bacteria. If positive, treatment with antibiotics is initiated, and we emphasize completing the entire prescription. In addition to "rapid strep tests," we offer Rapid Antigen and PCR COVID-19 tests. 

AFC Urgent Care Springfield is at your service seven days a week, providing the flexibility of scheduled appointments or walk-ins. We accept a wide range of insurance plans, ensuring accessibility to our comprehensive healthcare services. Simplify your billing process with our user-friendly online payment system – a few clicks are all it takes. Count on us for swift, convenient, and accessible healthcare services tailored to meet your needs.

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