The doctor will conduct a physical examination. Sore throats caused by viruses may look exactly like those caused by bacteria.
The doctor looks for these conditions:
- Signs of infection (redness, discharge, swollen
- Abscess (a shift
in one tonsil toward the center and a shift of the uvula away from the infected side)
- Airway compromise (muffled speech, drooling, and inability to swallow)
- The doctor may order diagnostic tests that will look for strep infection. In some cases, the doctor may start antibiotic treatment without tests.
- If the doctor performs a rapid diagnostic test with a swab specimen from the back of the throat, positive results for strep throat may be available during the office visit. However, it typically takes 24-48 hours to confirm rapid test results of a bacterial infection.
- Rarely, other conditions such as
a foreign body, or cancer may start with
a sore throat. If an abscess or a more worrisome condition (cancer,
diphtheria) appears to be present, the doctor may consult an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
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