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There are many causes of infections in the throat. Viruses are the most common cause and antibiotics will not help. Causes of throat infections include:
The symptoms of pharyngitis and tonsillitis depend greatly on what’s causing it. For some people, symptoms may start quickly. For others, symptoms start slowly. These are the most common symptoms of pharyngitis and tonsillitis:
The symptoms of pharyngitis and tonsillitis may look like other medical conditions or problems. Always check with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
In most cases, it is hard to tell the difference between a viral sore throat and a strep throat based on physical exam. It is important, though, to know if the sore throat is caused by strep bacteria, as this calls for antibiotics to help prevent the complications that can happen with these bacteria.
As a result, most people, when they have the above symptoms, will get a strep test and throat culture to find out if it is an infection caused by strep. This will involve a throat swab in the healthcare provider’s office.
Quick tests, called rapid strep tests, may be done. This may immediately show as positive for strep and antibiotics can be started. If it is negative, part of the throat swab will be kept for a throat culture. This will further identify strep in 2 to 3 days. Your healthcare provider will discuss the treatment plan with you based on the findings.
Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment based on:
If bacteria are not the cause of the infection, the treatment is usually more for comfort. Antibiotics will not help treat viral sore throats. Treatment may include:
Antibiotics are prescribed if the cause of the infection is bacterial.
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