We’ve all heard the horror stories about friends, family members, and co-workers who’ve had a personal experience with the bacterial infection known as strep throat. But if you’ve never experienced it yourself and currently have a sore throat, you may now be wondering whether or not to seek immediate treatment from an emergency room in San Antonio before it worsens into a more complicated condition.
Although the common sore throat and the more serious streptococcus bacteria both present in the same way initially, there are some significant differences between the two. Knowing those differences is one way to tell whether it’s okay to self-treat a common sore throat from home or to seek urgent care from a 24-hour emergency room near you.
Keep in mind, too, that since both conditions present identically in their early stages, seeing a doctor too early can often delay accurate diagnosis. However, as more symptoms specific to strep throat develop over time, it’s easier to get a successful diagnosis and beneficial treatment plan.
Also, waiting a day or two to see if the symptoms go away on their own – which is likely to happen in a non-strep scenario – will save expense on premature testing.
The general rule of thumb is not to let a sore throat linger for more than 8-10 days since treatment beyond that time may not be as effective and result in further complications such as rheumatic fever.
As mentioned, one of the most common differences between a common sore throat and the more severe streptococcus bacterial infection boils down to the number of days that you’re experiencing the symptoms.
Most sore throats will clear up within a few days. It’s also common to have sneezing and coughing accompany the soreness. But in the case of strep, most patients will not have these other symptoms. Although both can be painful and uncomfortable, strep typically does not present with typical cold symptoms.
Also, unlike a typical cold-related sore throat that presents slowly, strep symptoms typically appear more immediately. A few signs that will accompany this quick onset might include fever above 101 degrees, a sudden and severe headache, swollen glands – known as lymph nodes – in your neck area, and small red blotches on the roof of your mouth.
Some of these symptoms could also be an indication of something more than strep occurring, so if you experience one or more of them, it is recommended that you seek treatment from your family physician or an emergency room in 78247 if you can’t make an immediate appointment with your regular doctor. The key here is immediacy.
The most popular—and most effective – treatment for the strep bacteria are antibiotics. Many people do not like to take antibiotics unless they are absolutely necessary, but in the case of preventing the spread of the strep bacteria to family members and others that you come into contact with, there is nothing more effective than their use. Also, because strep can lead to more complicated conditions such as a sinus infection or worse, the use of antibiotics is the most highly recommended course of action.
If you’re in the early stages of your sore throat and still believe that it may go away with at-home treatment, go ahead and try some over-the-counter pain relievers. Just keep in mind that if you have a fever, swollen lymph nodes, or red blotches on the roof of your mouth, there is nothing available over-the-counter that will stop the spread of the bacteria. For that reason alone, seeking early antibiotic treatment is often the preferred course of action.
Strep throat will heal itself over time – usually within two weeks. Knowing that leads many people to believe they can just wait it out. While this is a personal choice, the one caveat to remember is that without antibiotic treatment, you will still be contagious and at risk of spreading the condition to others. Unless you plan to hibernate with absolutely no human contact during the time that the condition is contagious, an easier and more fool-proof option is to see a medical professional like those at Express ER in San Antonio for diagnose and prescription antibiotic treatment.