A sore throat can mean different things to different people. While someone who has a sore throat may mean that the outside of their throat hurts, the type of sore throat we’re discussing today is when there is discomfort in the back of your mouth, at your throat.
When you have a sore throat, you may have difficulty or discomfort when swallowing. Your sore throat may also be combined with other symptoms such as fever, upper respiratory symptoms, or a bad taste in your mouth.
When to see an urgent care doctor for your sore throat
A sore throat on its own isn’t always a reason to see an urgent care doctor. If your sore throat is mild and not accompanied by any other symptoms, your sore throat may clear up on its own. But if you have a sore throat along with other symptoms, it’s wise to go ahead and see a doctor.
See your urgent care doctor for your sore throat if you have any of these symptoms:
- A history of strep
- Red or swollen tonsils
- White spots (pus) in the back of your throat or on enlarged tonsils
- Difficulty swallowing
- Severe pain or discomfort below your jaw, in the area of your lymph nodes
It’s important to see a doctor for a more complicated sore throat to rule out Strep A. Strep A won’t get better unless it’s treated with antibiotics. Untreated strep can lead to more severe complications.
What your urgent care doctor can do for your sore throat
Your urgent care doctor will examine your mouth and throat to evaluate how irritated or infected your throat looks before ordering a rapid strep test. Your doctor will also examine your lymph nodes and ensure that there are no abscesses present. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may also choose to order some blood work.
The results of your rapid strep test will come in while you’re still in the office. If your strep test is positive, your urgent care doctor will prescribe a course of antibiotic treatment. You also may have the option of an injectable antibiotic. An antibiotic injection will help you feel better faster and can be more comfortable than swallowing a pill while your throat is inflamed.
Even if your strep test comes back negative, you may still have a bacterial infection that needs antibiotic treatment. A red, irritated throat without pus may indicate a viral infection that does not need antibiotics.
What you can do for a sore throat
If you have a sore throat, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol or Advil. Over-the-counter Chloraseptic spray can also help relieve some of your discomfort.
Even though it may be difficult to swallow, make sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. This is especially important if you have a fever along with your sore throat.