Sore throat or Strep throat: When to see a physician?

Do I Need to See a Doctor if I have Strep Throat?

Your throat aches and burns. It's painful to swallow. You know something is wrong, but how bad is it? Will it get better without antibiotics? Or will you need to visit the doctor?

This might start with a scratchy tickle at the back of your throat — or it could hit all at once. A sore throat is amongst the most common symptoms people experience. This is because so many different things can cause it, from mild irritations to serious illnesses. So, how do you know when to visit a doctor? It depends on three things: how much it hurts, how long it lasts, and what other symptoms you have with it.

A sore throat means that your throat hurts. It feels irritated or scratchy. You may experience slight discomfort or burning pain. Possible sore throat complications include ear and sinus infections. Another complication is a pus buildup (abscess) near your tonsils. Strep throat is an infection of the throat caused by the bacteria Streptococcus. While there are multiple kinds of Streptococcus (or simply, strep), it’s the group A variety that is the greatest concern. Left untreated, group A strep can spread to other parts of the body.

Symptoms of strep throat

Symptoms of strep throat are generally more severe than those of a sore throat caused by a virus. They can include:

Sudden sore throat.

Red tonsils that have white spots on them.

Pain when swallowing.


Swollen neck glands.

Loss of appetite.


Abdominal pain.

If your Family Practice Physician in New Jersey suspects strep, a simple, painless, and Rapid Strep Test can confirm the diagnosis. The physician will dab a cotton swab on the back of your throat and the swab will then be tested for the presence of Streptococcus pyogenes. Viral diseases may exhibit the same symptoms as strep throat. So it’s essential to get a throat swab to confirm the presence of the strep bacteria in the throat. In this way, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics for treatment that are suitable for bacterial diseases such as strep, but not for viral diseases such as a cold.

What causes a sore throat?

The majority of the sore throats are due to colds or flu. A virus can cause a sore throat. These include strep throat, tonsillitis, and mononucleosis (mono). Other causes include smoking, mouth breathing at night while you're sleeping, pollution and pet, pollen, and mold allergies.

When visiting a doctor is necessary for a sore throat?

While a sore throat is not necessarily an emergency, it is important to pay heed to other symptoms that may occur along with it. Keep an eye out for strep throat symptoms or symptoms of other infections, such as pneumonia. See a physician right away through our Telemedicine Services New Jersey if a sore throat lasts more than a week or if it comes with:

Fever higher than 100.4˚F

Severe pain when swallowing or difficulty swallowing

White patches or pus on the tonsils or back of the throat

Excessive drooling in infants or young children

Nausea or vomiting

Swollen lymph nodes

Severe headache, muscle aches, or joint pain

Blood in saliva or phlegm

Persistent cough, hoarseness, or change in voice



Go for safe and secure virtual visits

In most cases of strep, a diagnostic throat swab (Rapid Strep Test) is needed to be certain of the diagnosis. You will get a comprehensive evaluation and testing for this bacterium at the comfort of your home. Our physicians Dr. Adil Manzoor and Dr. Diana Larrea can help get the best treatment plan. We provide HIPAA compliant Telemedicine Services as well which is empowered by PatientMD through which you can visit/consult our expert physicians over audio, video, and chat. Wouldn’t it be great to avoid going to the doctor or urgent care if you can avoid it? We offer daytime house call, after-hours/weekend house call, daytime telemedicine services, and after-hours/weekend telemedicine services. Many illnesses can be diagnosed and treated in minutes using telemedicine services.

Remember that a sore throat is a very common symptom with many possible causes. Pay attention to what the rest of your body tells you when you have a sore throat. And always see a doctor for a thorough checkup and timely treatment.