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Medac Minute

Does a Store Throat Equal Strep?

When someone mentions a sore throat, streptococcal pharyngitis, AKA ‘Strep’ instantly comes to mind for many of us. It is a little scary after all. In fact, some experts suspect it was to blame for the death of our nation’s first president, George Washington. It is often an assumed diagnosis, but how often is a sore throat really a case of the dreaded Strep?

According to the CDC, often, a virus, not Strep, is responsible for scratchy sore throats. The actual likelihood of Strep presence in children with sore throats is 3 in 10, and for adults only 1 in 10. Sore throats can commonly be caused by things other than Strep or viruses, too. Sometimes something as simple allergies or exposure to smoke can make your throat feel raw.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get checked out by a care provider if you aren’t feeling well, just that it shouldn’t surprise you if a swab for Strep comes back as negative. The swab, by the way, is the only way to tell for certain whether Strep is present in a sore throat, other than throat cultures. Providers cannot tell one way or the other what the illness is by looking at the throat alone. They might have an idea based on other symptoms, but viruses can be tricky, and so can Strep!

If you happen to test positive for Strep, not to worry, antibiotics can help. If you don’t though, our Medac providers are still able to advise you on how to feel better! Our urgent care centers are open every day of the week 8:00am to 8:00pm- No appointment necessary! To be seen by a provider, simply walk in, or save your spot online by clicking here. We look forward to helping you Get Better. Faster!

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