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How to Tell If a Sore Throat Is Strep?

Just because someone has a sore throat, it doesn't necessarily mean that it is strep. So how can you tell if a sore throat is strep?
To help narrow down whether a sore throat is strep, begin with your symptoms. A person with strep throat usually has at least two out of four of the following:
  • 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.
The symptoms of strep throat usually improve within two to five days. If a person has a sore throat for more than a week, it is typically not the result of strep throat.
Strep throat occurs most often in children between the ages of 5 and 15, although it can occur in younger children and adults. Strep throat is most frequently diagnosed during the late fall, winter, and early spring.
(Click Strep Throat Symptoms for more information on how to tell if a sore throat is strep. This article outlines specific symptoms of this throat infection in adults, children, and infants.)
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