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How to Know If You Have Strep Throat

Although it is common to have a sore throat, not every sore throat is caused by strep and there is not just one sign or symptom that absolutely signals a strep throat infection. So how do you know if you have strep throat?
A person with strep throat usually has at least two out of four of these signs or symptoms:
  • A red and painful throat that begins suddenly
  • A fever above 101ºF (38.3ºC)
  • Red and enlarged tonsils -- there may also be white patches of pus on the tonsils or in the throat
  • Tender or swollen lymph glands in the neck.
If the healthcare provider thinks that a person has strep throat, he or she will take a throat swab, which takes a sample of fluids from the back of the throat. This sample will be used for a rapid strep test and/or a throat culture to look for the signs of the bacteria that cause strep throat.
(Click Strep Throat Diagnosis and Strep Throat Symptoms for more information on how to know if you have strep throat. These articles offer information on possible symptoms of this throat infection and what a healthcare provider will do to diagnose it.)
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