How do I know whether my sore throat is from a virus or bacteria?
The best way to determine whether you have strep throat (bacteria cause) is to have a rapid-antigen test, “throat swab”. It’s quick and easy and can tell the medical provider within minutes if you have strep throat. If the test is positive, you will be prescribed an antibiotic to take. The most important thing to remember when taking antibiotics is to make sure you finish the entire dose as prescribed!!
Of note **On telehealth we often see patients that we “think” have strep throat and it is acceptable to treat them with an antibiotic on the platform. We always encourage the patient to follow-up if their symptoms worsen or persist.
Viral sore throats are very common. We do not treat those with antibiotics, they will resolve on their own. Usually the symptoms do not last very long and are manageable with the treatments mentioned previously.
How long can sore throat last?
Well, that can vary depending on the cause of the sore throat.
*Colds, the flu, and other viral infections
*Strep throat and other bacterial infections
*Smoke, chemical and other irritants.
*GERD (GI reflux)
*Tumor (even though that is rare)
How do I get rid of a sore throat?
*Gargle with warm water and ½ teaspoon of salt
*Drink warm fluids, such as hot tea with honey, soup broth, or warm water with lemon, or herbal teas
*Cool your throat with a cold treat like a popsicle or ice cream
*Suck on a hard piece of candy or throat lozenge
*Turn on a humidifier to moisten the air
*Rest your voice until your throat feels better.
*May also take simple Tylenol, or Advil to help with pain control.