It seems to come out of nowhere. You can feel soreness in your throat when you swallow, and it even sometimes hurts when you talk. But what is the source of this scratchy throat? It is simply an irritation of some kind that will quickly go away on its own, or is it caused by an infection? There can be some anxiety and confusion about just how serious of a problem your sore throat is and whether it could be something more severe.
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Identifying and knowing the symptoms of a sore throat will help you decide whether you need medical treatment, or if you can simply try some home remedies to soothe it and wait it out. Here are 12 things to know if you’re trying to decide whether your throat is simply sore, or if it’s the dreaded strep…
1. What Is Strep Throat?
Before we get into all of the comparisons and symptoms of a “regular” sore throat versus strep, we should first explain what strep actually is. Medically known as group A streptococcus, this is a bacterial infection that leads to inflammation of the throat. It’s a common condition that can affect people of all ages (but is more common among kids aged causing 15- to 30-percent of their sore throats, notes Healthline).
This bacterial infection is highly contagious and can easily be spread through coughing and sneezing, as well as sharing a drink, adds the source. If you have a strep infection, you will likely have more symptoms beyond just unpleasantness while eating a meal – which we’ll dive more into.