Quick Answer: How Do I Know If My Sore Throat Is Viral Or Bacterial?

When should you go to the doctor for a sore throat?

In most cases, your sore throat will improve with at-home treatment.

However, it’s time to see your doctor if a severe sore throat and a fever over 101 degrees lasts longer than one to two days; you have difficulty sleeping because your throat is blocked by swollen tonsils or adenoids; or a red rash appears..

How do you know if you have strep throat or just a sore throat?

Signs and symptoms of strep throat are very similar to an ordinary sore throat, but in general strep throat has: White patches on the tonsils or back of the throat. Just a sore throat without cough/cold symptoms like a runny nose or congestion. Swollen lymph nodes (right below the earlobes)

At what point do I need antibiotics?

Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics if the symptoms are severe and include high fever along with nasal drainage and a productive cough. Antibiotics may also be necessary if you feel better after a few days and then your symptoms return or if the infection lasts more than a week.

Can you get rid of a bacterial infection without antibiotics?

Even without antibiotics, most people can fight off a bacterial infection, especially if symptoms are mild. About 70 percent of the time, symptoms of acute bacterial sinus infections go away within two weeks without antibiotics.

What is the best medicine for sore throat?

Acetaminophen or NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen and naproxen can take the edge off many cold symptoms, including your sore throat. Make sure you follow the directions on the label.

What are the five signs of infection?

Know the Signs and Symptoms of InfectionFever (this is sometimes the only sign of an infection).Chills and sweats.Change in cough or a new cough.Sore throat or new mouth sore.Shortness of breath.Nasal congestion.Stiff neck.Burning or pain with urination.More items…

What is the fastest way to get rid of a viral infection?

But you can find relief faster with these smart moves.Take it easy. When you’re sick, your body works hard to fight off that infection. … Go to bed. Curling up on the couch helps, but don’t stay up late watching TV. … Drink up. … Gargle with salt water. … Sip a hot beverage. … Have a spoonful of honey.

How do you tell if it’s viral or bacterial?

Your doctor often can diagnose you through a medical history and physical exam. The doctor may order blood or urine tests or a spinal culture to help pinpoint a viral or bacterial infection.

How long does it take a viral sore throat to go away?

How long will the effects of a sore throat last? Viral pharyngitis often goes away in five to seven days. If you have bacterial pharyngitis, you will feel better after you have taken antibiotics for two to three days. You must take your antibiotic even when you are feeling better.

What is the fastest way to cure a sore throat?

Warm liquids — broth, caffeine-free tea or warm water with honey — and cold treats such as ice pops can soothe a sore throat. Gargle with saltwater. A saltwater gargle of 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon (1.25 to 2.50 milliliters) of table salt to 4 to 8 ounces (120 to 240 milliliters) of warm water can help soothe a sore throat.

Will strep throat go away on its own?

If you have strep throat—which is caused by bacteria—your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic, such as penicillin. But strep throat goes away on its own in 3 to 7 days with or without antibiotics. Antibiotics may not make you well faster.

Can I have strep throat without a fever?

Yes, you can have strep throat without having a fever. Doctors will commonly look for five primary signs in the first stage of diagnosing strep throat: No Cough. If you have a sore throat, but aren’t coughing, it could be a sign of strep.

Can a sore throat last 3 weeks?

Most of the time, a persistent sore throat can go away on its own within a few days to a week, depending on its cause and treatment. Throat infection symptoms may persist for up to seven days, even with treatment. People with mono might experience a sore throat for up to two months.

Can viral infections be cured?

For most viral infections, treatments can only help with symptoms while you wait for your immune system to fight off the virus. Antibiotics do not work for viral infections. There are antiviral medicines to treat some viral infections. Vaccines can help prevent you from getting many viral diseases.

What kills a sore throat fast?

6 At-Home Remedies to Ease Your Sore ThroatSalt Water. While salt water may not provide you with immediate relief, it is still an effective remedy for killing bacteria while loosening mucus and easing pain. … Honey. … Lemon. … Hot Sauce. … Tea. … Humidifier.

How long does a sore throat last without antibiotics?

It can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection. It is hard for your doctor to tell which it is. How long does sore throat last? Symptoms will usually get better in 2 to 7 days, without taking antibiotics.

Can I get antibiotics without seeing a doctor?

About half of those who got antibiotics without seeing a doctor did have other medical bills, often for recent laboratory or home health services, which may have led doctors to prescribe antibiotics, authors of the new study said.

How can you test for strep throat at home?

Home strep tests are pretty similar to the rapid strep test used by doctors. They come with a sterile cotton swab, which you’ll gently brush against the back of your throat for a second or two. These tests typically come with two substances called reagents. You’ll mix these together and add the cotton swap.