How to tell if it's strep throat
Strep usually shows its symptoms between one and four days of acquiring the infection, so once that sore throat starts, there's no turning back.
As far as the symptoms go, obviously you're on the lookout for a sore throat, but there are a few other signs that you caught strep:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Red and inflamed tonsils or patches on your tonsils
- Body aches
- Rashes on your skin
One symptom you probably WON'T have if you have strep? A cough. If your sore throat is accompanied by excessive hacking, you're probably looking at a cold.
Another point to remember, according to NYU Langone's Dr. Erich Voigt, is that strep appears clinically different in different people.
So if you think you have strep, go to the doctor. And if you're not sure if you have strep, go to the doctor.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of strep throat is that there's no way to definitively diagnose it without a test performed at your doctor's office. Childhood memories may serve you well again here: This is the one where the doctor sticks a cotton swab uncomfortably far down your throat and swirls it around there for what feels like an eternity. Then you'll get a rapid strep test, plus further cultures if necessary, to determine whether the dreaded Streptococcus bacteria is present.