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Strep Throat (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

Individuals with a sore throat, especially if accompanied by fever or other associated symptoms, should consider consulting a health care practitioner. It is often too difficult to know definitively whether or not strep throat is present without a professional evaluation. Furthermore, there are other serious causes of sore throat that may require alternative treatments (for example, a peritonsillar abscess). Finally, consider seeking medical advice if a person has been treated for strep throat and has not improved within 4 to 5 days.

If a person has a sore throat or if they have been diagnosed with strep throat, and have any of the following signs or symptoms, they should immediately seek care in a hospital's emergency department:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty or inability to swallow food or liquid
  • Unable to open the mouth
  • Unable to swallow saliva, or drooling
  • Severe throat pain
  • Making a noises during breathing
  • Bleeding in the throat
  • Swelling or redness of the neck

Although some of these signs and symptoms may be related to a strep throat infection, they can also be indicators of other emergent conditions such as peritonsillar abscess, epiglottitis, or tetanus (lockjaw).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/27/2013
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