Diagnosing Strep Throat

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Pharyngitis, or strep throat, or sore throat, are all terms that we use interchangeably, but actually, not every sore throat is a strep throat. Strep throat is a bacterial infection caused by the Streptococcus bacteria. That bacteria actually needs to be treated with an antibiotic. Believe it or not, in most cases, you don’t need an antibiotic for treatment. In most cases, it’s a viral origin. Now, how do doctors tell that? The best way to tell is through a test to see if there is a bacterium. If there is a bacterial infection, then doctors go ahead and treat it with an antibiotic.

 

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Causes of Throat Pain

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Throat pain is a problem if you’re someone who is using your voice on a regular basis, especially as you go through allergy season. Throat pain isn’t always a strep infection, it isn’t always pharyngitis. It can be a result of postnasal drip from the sinuses being congested. You get that fluid going in the back of your throat, and that actually can lead to discomfort and pain. There are many things that throat pain can be attributed to. Try to look into the throat and understand the cause.

Treating Throat Infections

Sore-Throat

When medical experts talked about sore throats and pharyngitis, it used to be very simple.  They would begin treatment with an antibiotic because doctors felt that was the most effective way to treat the throat infection.  But what researchers are learning, in many cases, is it’s not necessary to prescribe an antibiotic.  In fact, in many cases, a throat infection might be due to a viral origin and an antibiotic really isn’t that helpful at all. It’s one of those things doctors started to learn over time and are realizing that they have to take their time figuring out what treatments there are before they aggressively go at it.  

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Treating Pharyngitis (A Sore Throat)

Treating Pharyngitis (A Sore Throat)

Pharyngitis is often treated with antibiotics and, in those cases, it should because we’re dealing with strep or other bacteria that can cause long-term problems. But sometimes we have a viral cause of pharyngitis and in those cases, we don’t necessarily need to have an antibiotic; we actually need to counsel the patient. In other words, when you go see the doctor, you may not always get an antibiotic for your sore throat, or your child may not. We know that’s difficult to understand because we used to give it reflexively, but now we understand that we don’t want to overuse those antibiotics and in some cases, we don’t have to.

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Sore Throats and Gargling

Sore Throats and Gargling

Does gargling work with sore throat? Does gargling work with pharyngitis? Absolutely. If you gargle with salt water, it can make a big difference. The thing about gargling is that in and of itself, it won’t cure a bacterial infection; but if you have a viral infection or you’re talking about a sinus issue, gargling can make a big difference. Gargling can be effective and it’s important that you look at that as a potential simple weapon that can be used in the battle against these things, but, again, it’s not the only weapon.

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