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Sore Throat Vs Strep Throat : Differences Worth Knowing

All of us suffer from a painful throat at times. A painful throat may be sore throat or may be strep throat. There are some similarities and some differences in between these two ill health conditions. Here, will list down some of the differences between sore throat and strep throat.

Sore Throat Vs Strep Throat

Sore Throat Vs Strep Throat: Differences Worth Knowing

Sore Throat Vs Strep Throat: Basic Differences

A sore throat is simply pain or an irritation of the throat because of various causes. However, strep throat is a type of pharyngitis which is caused by a group A streptococcal infection, an infection that is caused by a type of Streptococcus bacteria

Sore Throat Vs Strep Throat: Differences Based on their Contagious Mode

Sore throat may or may not be contagious. This basically depends on the cause. However, strep throat is always extremely contagious.

Sore Throat Vs Strep Throat: Differences Based on their Causes

Viral infection is the most common cause of sore throat. There are a lot of viruses that cause sore throats. Measles, Influenza, Rhinovirus etc are sources of pharyngitis. Inflammation in the throat can also be caused due to bacteria some types of bacterial infections are extremely dangerous, like diphtheria. Oral thrush can also cause an inflammation in the throat

Strep throat is actually a disease that causes a sore throat. This is very contagious and can be diagnosed in adults, teenagers and children. This condition is caused by a bacteria called Group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus.

Sore Throat vs Strep Throat: Differences Based on Their Symptoms

Some of the Most Common Symptoms of Sore Throat Include the Following:

  • Painful while swallowing food and liquids.
  • Red and swollen throat
  • Difficulty breathing because of nasal passage congestion
  • Congested painful lungs. Infected respiratory tract
  • Swollen and inflamed tonsils.
  • The person affected with sore throat may cough too often so as to relieve the congestion in the lungs.
  • Sore throat is commonly accompanied by fever. This is because the immune system will be attempting to destroy the virus.

Some Common Symptoms of Strep Throat Include the Following:

Patients may have mild or severe symptoms of strep throat. After one comes in contact with the strep germ; he or she may start to feel sick in 2 to 5 days.
Person affected with strep throat may experience a high fever, vomiting, chills, headaches and muscle ache.

The most common symptom of strep throat is the development of pus on the tonsils. Some affected individuals will have a red rash on the palate of the mouth.
The patients usually feel ill and experience a loss of appetite and also may have abnormal taste

Some strains of strep throat may lead to a scarlet fever-like rash

Sore Throat Vs Strep Throat: Differences Based on the Complications Associated

In case of sore throat there are no complications though it may be dependent on the cause of the infection. However in case of strep throat the infection may spread, one may suffer with rheumatic fever, abscess etc.

Sore Throat Vs Strep Throat: Differences Based on their Diagnosis

Coming to the diagnosis of sore throat, your physician will ask about your symptoms and then examine your throat. He will also examine you for signs of any other illness like sinus, ear or chest infection. Your doctor may also swab your throat to test for strep infection (As strep throat causes a sore throat at times). A rapid strep test can also be done so as to know about the infection.

For strep throat, in addition to throat examination and checking your symptoms, a strep test will be advised to confirm the diagnosis of strep throat.

Sore Throat Vs Strep Throat: Differences Based on their Treatments

There is no specific treatment required for sore throat caused by a virus. The throat usually gets better in 5-7 days on its own. For sore throat caused by bacteria, antibiotic treatments are essential. Mostly treatments for sore throat may be over-the-counter pain medications, throat lozenges, antibiotic if required, and saltwater gargle.
Strep throat requires treatment with antibiotics. Prescription antibiotics, usually penicillin or amoxicillin are used for treating strep throat infection.

Sore Throat Vs Strep Throat: Differences Based on the Duration They Last For

Usually sore throat goes within 5-7 days, if the infection is caused by a virus. If it is a bacterial infection then you will feel better after you have taken antibiotics for 2-3 days. You need to take antibiotics even when you are feeling better, else sore throat may come back again.

Symptoms of strep throat may go away in 24 hours once you have started treatment. The symptoms rarely last longer than 5 days. It is essential for you to take treatments else it may lead to the severe complications.


  1. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Sore throat. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/sore-throat/expert-answers/faq-20447100
  2. American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. (2021). Sore Throat. Retrieved from https://www.enthealth.org/conditions/sore-throat/
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Group A Streptococcal (GAS) Disease. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/groupastrep/diseases-public/strep-throat.html
  4. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (2021). Streptococcal Infections. Retrieved from https://www.niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/streptococcal-infections
Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 17, 2023

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