Strep and Sore Throats

Urgent Care Services in Sugar Land, Texas

What Causes a Sore Throat?

A sore throat makes it hard to swallow and eat. It is typically caused by inflammation due to a cold or other virus. Other causes can be environmental factors such as allergies to mold or pollen, dry air or cigarette smoke.

A sore throat is often the first sign of a cold and may go away after a few days. If it doesn’t subside within a week, you should seek treatment, especially if other conditions like a fever, rash or swollen glands develop.

What is the Difference between a Sore Throat & Strep Throat?

Unlike a cold, which is caused by a virus, strep throat is caused by Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. If left untreated, a streptococcal infection can result in serious complications. Antibodies from the body’s immune response to untreated infections can mistakenly attack joints, skin and the heart, and lead to congestive heart failure. This complication is now much less common in the U.S. due to the widespread use of antibiotics, though outbreaks of strep throat do still occur. Strep throat is a contagious disease and treatment should be sought if you think you may have this respiratory condition.


To determine the cause of a sore throat, an examination with a lighted instrument is performed to look for signs such as inflammation or white patches. If there are white patches, it may indicate that you have strep throat. A swab at the back of your throat and Rapid Antigen Test for the S. pyogenes bacteria can identify whether it is strep. If it is still not clear, there are additional tests to determine whether you have a viral or bacterial infection.


The treatment for a sore throat depends on the cause. For viral infection, you may be advised to let the virus run its course. During that time, medications such as decongestants and pain relievers can ease your symptoms. For strep throat, a course of antibiotics may be prescribed. Whatever the cause of your sore throat, Sugar Land Physicians will get you on the path to better health.