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Why is my throat severely painful and why are my muscles achy?

I am an 18 year old full time student who doesn't get as much sleep as a typical college student should, and I deal with a lot of stress in my life. I woke up this morning with a very scratchy, achy throat, and swollen lymph nodes. In addition, my muscles, particularly my neck, are very achy as well. Should I see my general doctor or should I go to the ER? Could it be mono or strep throat? I am not currently on medication, but I immediately took an advil when I woke up.
A sore throat can be caused by many things. Given that you are describing painful lymph nodes and a very painful throat, it is possible that strep throat is the cause of your symptoms. This can readily be verified or refuted with a simple visit to your primary care doctor. Alternatively, an urgent care would be able to perform the required examination and possible test, although they would not know your medical history as well and would generally recommend following up with your primary care doctor in the future. The sudden nature of your sore throat and its isolation to your throat and neck seem to make mono a less likely possibility, as this will generally present with a general feeling of being worn down and fatigued. Alternatively, and perhaps most likely, there are numerous viruses that can be the cause of a sore throat, and even things as simple as allergies and post nasal drip can cause a very painful and scratchy throat. Given your lymph nodes and your sudden onset, however, speaking to your primary care doctor about your symptoms would be the best choice to help you achieve a quick and full recovery.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.

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