Telltale Signs of Strep Throat

Written By Fam Staff
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Adnan Maqsood
Throat Infection Treatment

Kids are Petri dishes with legs. They can get 8-10 colds per year before the age of 2 and up to a dozen a year once they start school. 

It’s not always easy to tell the difference between a sore throat that’s due to the common cold and one caused by a strep infection. But knowing the difference can spare your child from a lengthy illness and also prevent them from spreading the infection to others. 

At Family Urgent Care in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago and in Schererville, Indiana, our expert team of health care providers wants you and your family to stay in the pink of health. That’s why we want you to know the telltale signs of strep throat so you can seek treatment right away.

What is strep throat?

A sore throat often accompanies seasonal allergies and the common cold, which is a viral infection. Strep throat, on the other hand, is a bacterial infection of the throat and tonsils that’s caused by the Streptococcus bacteria.

You should know the difference between strep and other sore throats because each is treated differently. 

Top signs of strep throat

Although strep throat is most common in children, adults can get strep, too. Here are the telltale signs that you’re dealing with strep throat rather than a common cold.


Strep throat can develop out of the blue. On the other hand, sore throats that accompany a cold or allergies typically develop gradually in conjunction with other symptoms, such as a runny nose or a cough.


Severe strep throat infections can be quite painful, but even moderate-to-severe cases can cause considerable pain and difficulty swallowing.

Aches and fever

Strep throat is often accompanied by fever and body aches, indicators that your body is attempting to fight off infection.

Nausea and vomiting

Small children with strep may also have nausea and vomiting.


Strings of pus in the back of the mouth are signs of a strep infection.

Red spots

Red spots at the back of the throat or on the roof of the mouth are common signs of strep. 

Swollen lymph nodes

Swollen lymph nodes in your neck are more signs that your body is fighting a strep infection.

Get the care you need — fast

At the first signs of any of these symptoms, make an appointment with us to get a rapid strep test, which is an on-the-spot diagnostic. If we confirm that a strep infection is present, we can prescribe an antibiotic and teach you how to keep yourself or your child comfortable while the medication works to clear the infection.

To make an appointment at Family Urgent Care, call the office location that’s convenient to you, or use our online booking tool.

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