If you truly have strep throat, you should be seen by a physician who can prescribe antibiotics. Another possibility is to see a nurse practitioner at an urgent care facility.
Pharyngitis is the infection or irritation of the pharynx and tonsils and is likely the diagnosis of your sore throat. There are various etiologies of pharyngitis including streptococcus, infectious mononucleosis, and other viral agents. About 15-30% of acute pharyngitis are caused by streptococus pyogenes (the bacteria leading to strep throat). Signs of streptococcal infection include fever
, white patches (exudates) on your tonsils, enlarged, tender lymph nodes, headache
, abdominal pain, and the absence of cough. It is very important that strep throat be treated, because if it is left untreated, it could lead to acute rheumatic fever which subsequently can result in valvular heart disease.
To diagnose strep throat, your physician can obtain a throat swab specimen to perform a rapid strep test. If this test is positive, your physician will likely give you a course of antibiotics to treat the infection. However, if the test is negative, it is probable that your pharyngitis is due to a virus for which only supportive care with hydration and pain control are recommended. You should follow up with your primary care physician
to evaluate your symptoms, test for streptococcal infection, and suggest further management.