Nov 11, 2021

Interviewer: You have a pretty bad sore throat. Dr. Tom Miller, is that worth a trip to the doctor?

Dr. Miller: It might be. Most sore throats are caused by viruses. But if you have tender, swollen lymph nodes in your neck, if you have a fever of greater than 100 or 100.5, and if you look in the back of your throat with a penlight and you see sort of plaques on your tonsils, there's a good chance that you have strep throat, especially if you live with young kids who also get strep throat more commonly than adults. It might be worth a trip to the doctor.

He'll evaluate those same things. If you have all three of them, he's likely to give you an antibiotic. If you have one or two of them, he'll do what's called a rapid strep test. That will tell him if you have strep throat, and if you do, you'll have an antibiotic. That will reduce the symptom duration by one or two days and you'll feel better and get back to work.

Interviewer: So strep throat pretty much the only sore throat that you're going to get an antibiotic for.

Dr. Miller: There are others but more rarely.

updated: November 11, 2021
originally published: July 13, 2017

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