Sore throats are very common in the winter months, and many people are wondering if they have strep throat or COVID-19. Cases of COVID-19 have been increasing in the past few months. It’s understandable that you may assume you’ve got COVID-19, but that’s not the only winter illness you should be worrying about.
Unlike COVID-19 which is caused by a viral infection, strep throat is caused by a bacterial infection. Strep is just as contagious when sneezing, coughing, or touching the same things as someone else. The major difference between the two is that strep throat doesn’t normally cause respiratory symptoms like COVID-19 does. Let’s take a look at the differences more closely and help clear any confusion about what’s causing you sore throat.
Strep Throat Symptoms Versus COVID-19 Symptoms
They both can give you a sore throat, but one is more distinctive than the other.
We mentioned that strep throat is caused by a bacterial infection. It primarily targets the throat and tonsils making it feel like you’re swallowing broken glass. The main symptoms of strep throat include:
- A fever may begin suddenly and is often highest on the second day. You may have chills
- Red sore throat, sometimes with white patches
- Swollen Uvula
- Gray furry tongue
- It may hurt to swallow
- You may feel swollen, tender glands in your neck
Other symptoms include:
- General feelings of fatigue and weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Some strains of strep throat can lead to a scarlet fever-like rash. The rash first appears on the neck and chest, then it spreads over the body
If you have strep throat and you don’t have any ‘respiratory’ symptoms, chances are it may just be strep throat, a cold or a symptom for the flu.
What if I have a sore throat and no respiratory symptoms, but still test positive for COVID-19?
If you have respiratory symptoms such as:
- Difficulty breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of smell and/or taste
….The chances are it’s COVID-19, as these are the more distinctive symptoms for the COVID-19 virus. As cases of COVID-19 continue to increase, and we move forward into the second half of winter, you can still come down with strep, flu, colds and other winter illnesses out there.
Your best bet is to get a proper diagnosis and to get tested to rule out the causes of your sore throat.
AFC Urgent Care West Hartford Can Help Diagnose You And Treat You
Whether it’s a cold, flu, COVID-19 or strep, AFC Urgent Care in West Hartford can help in many ways. We offer these services 7 days a week:
- Flu shots to combat the flu
- PCR and rapid molecular tests for COVID-19
- Rapid ‘strep’ tests (throat swabs)
If you suspect it’s strep and it turns out not to be COVID-19, we can prescribe you antibiotics right away. Treatment can begin and you’ll be strep free by taking your full dose. We highly suggest completing your prescription, as stopping too soon can increase your risk of strep returning. We hope you feel better and continue to stay informed as we progress through the colder months.
AFC West Hartford is always here for you 7 days a week for your urgent care needs. No appointment is needed. Waiting to serve our friends and families in the West Hartford community.