One of the more common symptoms of upper respiratory illnesses prevalent in the winter is a sore throat, which can indicate the beginnings of a cold, the flu or even other viruses. A common infection that lists a sore throat as a symptom is strep, which is a bacterial infection that will not resolve itself without the use of antibiotics. By learning the symptoms, you will be able to determine when to go to the doctor for treatment and how to avoid potential complications.

What is strep throat?

Strep throat is different from other illnesses that involve sore throats because it is caused by bacteria, rather than a virus. Strep throat begins with a type of infection called group A strep and is most commonly found in children, though anyone can be vulnerable to strep throat. Symptoms tend to happen quickly, without buildup including:

  • Rapid sore throat
  • Difficult or painful swallowing
  • White patches, pus buildup and irritation around the tonsils
  • A rash of small red dots along the top and back of your mouth
  • Swollen lymph nodes and glands

Because the infection is most common in children, they may experience additional symptoms including stomach cramps, nausea, headaches, fever and vomiting.

Timeline of Strep Throat

The infection has an incubation period of up to five days, during which time it can be highly contagious. People who are in close contact with someone with strep throat are more vulnerable to catching the infection. Because of its nature, people who share a home, dormitory, day care, office or classroom with someone who has strep throat can have a higher risk of catching the infection, though they may not develop symptoms immediately.

When to Visit Urgent Care with Strep Throat Symptoms

You will need to be seen by a doctor in order to get prescribed the antibiotics needed to treat strep throat. However, you may not realize right away that your infection is strep. If you experience the following symptoms, you should visit Urgent Care of Mercer County right away to be seen by one of our board-certified physicians for the care you need:

  • Persistent sore throat that has not gone away or weakened in 48 hours
  • Fever
  • Difficulty or painful breathing or swallowing
  • Swollen lymph nodes and glands

After receiving treatment, you should return to Urgent Care of Mercer County for a follow-up visit if you do not show signs of improvement after 48 hours of taking antibiotics.

Strep Throat Prevention

In order to prevent catching strep throat, make sure you are washing your hands regularly throughout the day with warm, soapy water to kill germs and remove buildup. You should scrub your hands for at least 30 seconds, or one rendition of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” if you are teaching your child about proper hygiene. Always cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough with the crook of your elbow, using the “Vampire Method” to contain germs, and do not share utensils and cups without washing them first.

Walk-In Strep Throat Treatment in Hamilton, Trenton & Bordentown, NJ

If you begin to develop any of the symptoms of strep throat, visit Urgent Care of Mercer County for walk-in diagnosis and care. Our center is open seven days a week and walk-in patients are always welcomed. Most major insurances are accepted. For questions, please call 609.890.4100.