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Sore throat or Strep Throat?

When you or your child wakes up with a sore throat, your first thought may be Strep — but that’s not always the case.

Pharyngitis (sore throat) is a very common medical condition that can often be caused by just a virus.

This week Centra Care physicians have reported an increase in patients with sore throat. The locations that reported the largest increases include:

●​ University: up 300% (kids)
●​ Clermont: up 250% (kids)
●​ Sand Lake, Winter Park: up 200% (kids)

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How do you know the difference between viral Pharyngitis and Strep Throat? That question usually needs to be answered by a doctor.

Symptoms of Strep usually begin suddenly. The sore throat can range from mild to severe and may be accompanied by other symptoms including:

●​ Fever that begins suddenly
●​ Red throat, sometimes with white patches
●​ Headache
●​ General discomfort or ill feeling
●​ Loss of appetite
●​ Tender, swollen lymph nodes in the neck
●​ Difficulty swallowing
●​ Stomachache
●​ Nausea
●​ Chills

Since the symptoms of strep throat and viral sore throats can be the same, a doctor will often swab your throat to determine if you will need an antibiotic. If it’s viral you won’t need an antibiotic.

Whether your diagnosis is viral or strep, there are some things that can help reduce the pain:
• Drink plenty of fluids including, warm fluids like herbal teas
• Gargle with salt-water (mix 2 teaspoons salt to 1 pint water)
• Take over-the-counter pain medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen
• Spray the throat with over-the-counter products like Cepacol, or try throat lozenges

See a doctor if you have a fever over 101 degrees.​​


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