Confused Between Sore Throat And Strep Throat? Know Difference From An Expert

Let us learn more about the conditions of sore throat and strep throat along with the difference between the two.

 
Charu Sharma
Written by: Charu SharmaPublished at: Jan 16, 2022Updated at: Jan 16, 2022
Confused Between Sore Throat And Strep Throat? Know Difference From An Expert

Winter surely brings in a lot many health issues and itchy throat is something quite common. Itchy or painful throat is a symptom that is quite common in many health conditions. One needs to know that pain and itchy sensation in the throat can also be due to strep throat.  Sore throat and strep throat are two conditions that tend to affect your throat but are very different depending upon the root cause. Where sore throat can be caused due to viral and bacterial infection, strep throat is a contagious condition caused due to bacterial infection and is more severe in nature. As the main difference between these two infectious conditions lie in their root cause and hence one needs to understand the basic difference between the two to treat it well. Let us take a step ahead and get into this article and learn more about the conditions of sore throat and strep throat along with the difference between the two with Dr Abhimanyu Sangwan, Attending Consultant, ENT, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram.

Sore Throat

Sore throat is a condition that causes scratchiness, irritation and pain in the throat that tends to get worse as you swallow something. Caused due to a viral or bacterial infection, sore throat is usually  accompanied with several cold-like symptoms such as cough, sneeze, raspy and hoarse voice along with runny nose. Not just viral or bacterial infection but a sore throat can

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It can also be caused due to environmental factors such as dry air, allergies, irritants such as smoke, pollution, etc. It usually affects the tonsillitis, pharyngitis and laryngitis parts of the throat. The scratchy feeling makes a person very uncomfortable and actions such as speaking and swallowing are difficult. Some of the common symptoms of sore throat are-

  • White patches with pus on the tonsils
  • Red and swollen tonsils
  • Scratchy sensation in the throat
  • Experiencing pain while swallowing
  • Muffled voice
  • Sore glands in the neck and jaw region
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Nausea
  • Body ache
  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Cough 
  • Nasal congestion

In most of the cases the sore throat tends to go away on its own and might take a few days or weeks depending upon its root cause. In order to get relief from sore throat, a person can take over the counter medicine such as ibrufen and aspirin. It can also be treated by trying nasal sprays or lozenges. Dr. Abhimanyu Sangwan suggests that drinking lots of fluid and getting rest can help a person to cure this condition.

Strep Throat

When your throat tends to feel irritated, scratchy and painful due to an arterial infection, this condition is referred to as a strep throat. Caused due to a group of streptococcus bacteria that leads to inflammation, strep throat can affect the children and adults of all age groups. This is a highly contagious condition that can affect a person if they touch their eyes, nose or mouth after getting exposed to this illness causing bacteria. Not just coughing and sneezing but strep throat can also be caused due to activities such as sharing food and by touching the contaminated surface or objects. Some of the common symptoms that one might experience due to the condition of strep throat are-

  • Headache
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Sudden fever and chills
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sore red or white patches at the back of the throat. 

According to Dr. Abhimanyu, the best way to treat this condition is through gargling with warm salt water, taking an over the counter pain relief, sucking on a lozenge, consuming a drop of honey, using humidifier, taking a steam shower, starting echinacea and sage spray and staying hydrated. 

Sore Throat Vs Strep Throat

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Sore throat and strep throat are two throat conditions caused due to infection that results in inflammation. The main difference between these two conditions lies in their root cause. Sore throat can be caused due to a viral as well as bacterial infection. About 90% of the people having sore throats are affected due to some kind of viral infection. On the other hand strep throat is a throat condition that takes place due to the inflammation caused due to  bacterial infection. In both these cases a person might find it difficult to swallow in food or saliva as it tends to hurt the inflamed area. Strep throat is a more serious condition that can be transmitted from one person to the other through the means of coughing, sneezing, sharing food or touching the contaminated surfaces. 

(With inputs from Dr Abhimanyu Sangwan, Attending Consultant, ENT, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram)

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