How to Tell If You Have Strep or Just a Sore Throat (Video)

If you don't have a cough, that's a key symptom

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Sore throats are not only a pain. They can be caused by many different factors. These include viruses, bacteria, allergies or even runny nose drainage.

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That means it’s sometimes confusing whether that hurt is simply a sore throat caused by a cold or strep throat. Cleveland Clinic’s family medicine expert Daniel Allan, MD, explains how your doctor can spot strep based on a defined set of characteristics. He says symptoms of strep throat include:

  • Sudden onset of severely sore throat
  • Fever/chills
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Pus in the back of the throat

One key sign to watch for is a sore throat without a cough. That is telltale sign of strep. A sore throat, on the other hand can cause:

  • Discomfort
  • Pain or a scratchy feeling in the throat
  • Difficult swallowing
  • Cough

Related: Do You Have ‘Just’ a Sore Throat — Or Is It Strep? (Infographic)

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