If you’ve noticed a persistent scratchy, sore throat while at work or when placing your order at Stomping Grounds Coffee Bar, you’re likely wondering what the cause is.
While many conditions can cause throat pain, tonsillitis and strep throat are two very common causes. They also have some other overlapping symptoms and are sometimes mistaken for the same illness. Let’s compare the symptoms of strep throat and tonsillitis and learn more about each condition.
Strep Throat Symptoms and Causes
Strep throat is a common cause of sore throat (pharyngitis). It is caused by a bacteria called group A Streptococcus and is responsible for 5-15% of all adult cases and 20 to 30% of all pediatric cases of sore throat.
In addition to a sore throat, strep may cause you to have:
- Tender, swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Small red spots on the roof of your mouth
- Pain or difficulty when swallowing
- Body aches
- Nausea or vomiting (particularly in children)
Tonsillitis Symptoms and Causes
Tonsillitis has many of the same symptoms as strep throat including sore throat, difficulty swallowing, swollen lymph nodes and fever (though a milder fever than those with strep throat may typically experience). However, with tonsillitis you may also experience:
- Redness and swelling in the tonsils
- White or yellow discoloration on or near the tonsils
- Stiff neck
Additionally, tonsillitis can have multiple causes, including viruses like the cold or flu as well as bacteria. Sometimes, having strep throat can lead to tonsillitis. So, it’s possible to have both illnesses at the same time.
When To Visit Your Medical Provider
Both tonsillitis and strep throat often can resolve on their own after a few days of rest, drinking plenty of liquids and managing your symptoms with over-the-counter treatments like lozenges or anti-inflammatory medications.
However, you should make an appointment to see your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- Symptoms that don’t improve or worsen after four days
- Severe symptoms like a high fever, trouble breathing or difficulty drinking
- Intense throat pain
- You’ve been dealing with recurrent or chronic cases of strep throat and/or tonsillitis over the past year
After evaluating your symptoms and running any needed tests, your medical provider will be able to confirm your diagnosis and come up with a treatment plan.
In the case of strep throat or tonsillitis caused by bacteria, you will likely be prescribed antibiotics to help clear the infection. If you have tonsillitis caused by a virus, your doctor may recommend that you continue to treat your symptoms at home. In cases of chronic tonsillitis that is resistant to other treatments, surgery to remove your tonsils may be suggested.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, call Spartanburg | Greer ENT & Allergy today.