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Urgent care for sore or strep throat

A sore or scratchy throat can be a sign of strep throat or inflammation. Getting the proper treatment is essential to helping you feel better. When you visit one of our urgent care centers,  our caring providers can help with the right diagnosis. Just find your closest center and walk in or save your spot online.

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Strep throat symptoms

A sore throat can be a symptom of many conditions, such as the flu or allergies, but is often caused by a contagious infection called strep throat. Strep throat symptoms include:

  • Body aches
  • Hoarseness
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Painful, swollen throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Red spots, called petechiae, on the roof of the mouth
  • White patches or streaks of pus on the tonsils

In kids, strep can also produce symptoms of belly aches and headaches not typical in adults.

The only way to know if it’s strep throat or a sore throat caused by other conditions is with a strep throat test. Only a healthcare provider can evaluate your symptoms, administer a strep test, and determine your best course of action.

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What causes a sore throat?

A sore throat can be caused by a virus, bacteria or allergies. For example, influenza and the common cold are common causes. Both are viral infections. 

Between 5%-15% of sore throats in adults are caused by a bacteria known as Streptococcus pyogenes or “strep.” In children, strep throat is even more common, particularly in winter. One of the best ways to avoid picking up bacteria like strep is by practicing good hand hygiene.

Testing and treatment

If you have strep throat symptoms that aren’t improving with at-home remedies or are accompanied by a high fever, it is best to visit a healthcare provider for an evaluation and strep throat testing. When you visit any of our urgent cares for strep throat, we will evaluate your symptoms and determine the best plan of action for you.

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Sore and strep throat treatment for children

Children are more likely to catch strep or sore throat when compared to adults. Like adults, a sore throat in children can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or even allergies. 

Kids tend to touch everything and spend more time in communal settings like school. Strep throat is extremely contagious and can quickly spread within a group of children. 

If your child has a sore throat, particularly if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as a fever, lack of appetite, or fatigue, it is best to see a healthcare provider for a strep test. If they are positive for strep, they will likely be prescribed antibiotics. If the strep test is negative, the provider may recommend further testing or provide a different diagnosis. 

While caring for your child at home, provide them with soft foods that are easy to swallow and lots of liquids to stay hydrated. Don’t force them to eat, but encourage them to take small sips of liquid often. Ensure they get plenty of rest. 

Use fever- and pain-reducing medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen as needed. Always be sure to follow the dosing instructions for your child’s age.

What medicine to take for sore throat

Since a painful throat can have many causes, the recommended sore throat treatment will depend on the underlying cause. A viral sore throat typically resolves on its own and does not require medication. A bacterial sore throat caused by strep will require antibiotics. 

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When to visit urgent care for sore throat or strep throat treatment

Our urgent care centers offer treatment for all of the causes of a sore throat, including:

  • Common cold and influenza
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Tonsillitis
  • Allergies
  • Sinusitis
  • Pharyngitis
  • Bronchitis

When you visit one of our urgent cares for strep throat, our knowledgeable providers are here to help you get the right diagnosis so you can feel better faster. Start by finding the nearest center, walk in, or save your spot online for immediate care. We are here to help 365 days a year, seven days a week.

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