Know the Difference Between Strep Throat and a Sore Throat

Posted on April 07, 2023

Category: Causes and Prevention Urgent Care General Signs and Symptoms


We’ve all felt that scratchy, tingly, burning feeling in our throats. This feeling can make everyday things like talking, chewing, swallowing, or even breathing seem extremely difficult. So how do you tell if you have strep throat or a sore throat?


How does strep throat spread?

Strep throat is a bacterial infection in the throat and tonsils. Strep throat is spread by direct contact or respiratory droplets of someone infected. The bacteria is most commonly spread through sneezing, coughing, or talking. You can get sick from breathing in the respiratory droplets, touching a surface that contains respiratory droplets, and then touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.



  • Fever
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Red and swollen tonsils
  • White patches of pus on the tonsils
  • Sore throat that can start very quickly
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck

Sore throat vs. strep throat

How do you know if you have a sore throat or strep throat? If you are experiencing other cold-like symptoms like a runny nose, cough, sneezing, or a raspy voice, you are more likely to have a sore throat. Remain conscious of the strep throat symptoms as a sore throat usually is not accompanied by a fever or pus patches on the tonsils. All ages are at risk of catching strep throat. However, it is more commonly seen in children. Bacterial infections like strep throat tend to spread quickly in schools and childcare centers.

Sioux Falls Urgent Care offers strep throat testing, which includes swabbing the tonsils. The process takes about 40 minutes to receive the results. A provider will also perform a physical exam by looking at the throat and feeling the lymph nodes around the neck.



If your test is positive for strep throat, an antibiotic can be given to decrease your symptoms and help decrease your time with the infection. Most importantly, an antibiotic will prevent the bacteria from spreading to others. You should start to feel better within the first 48 hours of taking the antibiotic, and you can return to work or school after you have been on antibiotics for 12 hours.



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 Walk into Sioux Falls Urgent Care 7 days a week. 
Phone: 605-444-8860
Location: 7600 South Minnesota Ave Sioux Falls, SD 57108
(85th & Minnesota)