Only a Strep Test Will Tell for Sure

Strep throat is a bacterial infection in the throat and tonsils. The bacteria are spread through contact with droplets after an infected person coughs or sneezes. If you touch your mouth, nose or eyes after touching something that has these droplets on it, you may become ill. The most common symptoms of strep throat include sore throat; fever; red, swollen tonsils (sometimes with white streaks or pus); tiny red spots on the roof of the mouth; and swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck.

Your doctor can test for strep by swabbing the throat to quickly see fi group A strep bacteria are causing the sore throat. A strep test is needed to tell if you have strep throat or if it may be a case of viral sore throat, which resolves on its own. (Note: antibiotics are not useful for viral illnesses.) Just looking at your throat is not enough to make a diagnosis. If the test is positive for strep, your doctor can prescribe antibiotics.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention