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Dr. Shane


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Dr. Shane is our Doctor's Orders founder and content creator. You can thank him for the witty humor and awesome health and DPC info every month!

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All sore throats are NOT Strep Infections

It’s back to school time and that means, time for spreading germs. Unfortunately, many times this leads to sore throats and concerns about Strep throat. We wanted to share with you some common sense measures to use regarding sore throats in hopes of saving you and your family lots of hassles.

Sore Throats are super common and most of the time it is not strep. Most studies show in school age kids (ages 5 to 15) sore throats are caused by Strep infection only about 20% to 30% of the time. So, 70% of the time sore throats are NOT strep in kids. In adults, Strep is even less common only about 10% of sore throats are Strep. Most of these NON-Strep cases of sore throats are caused by viruses or allergies or sinus drainage.

Here are some good ways to differentiate sore throats from colds or allergies versus Strep infection:


Cough, Runny nose, runny eyes, sinus drainage, sneezing, low grade fever


Rapid onset of throat pain, pain with swallowing, fever, white patches on tonsils, red spot in roof of mouth, swollen lymph nodes in neck , headache sometimes a rash can occur in kids (almost never COUGH or RUNNY NOSE in these)

If you have these Strep concerning symptoms we should check you out. If your symptoms are more consistent with viruses or colds, then we recommend rest, Motrin or ibuprofen, some throat lozenges, and maybe some Benadryl for drainage. Also, drink plenty of fluids. Most of the time using some Motrin or ibuprofen for few days and the sore throat will resolve. Antibiotics WILL NOT help this issue and in fact could put you at risk for antibiotic resistance as well as side effects like diarrhea or rashes from taking them.

If you have Strep, you will need to be seen by your physician and get some medications for it to prevent long term complications. You are contagious until at least 24 hours with no fever or after on antibiotics for 24 hours.

So, wash your hands frequently, keep hands off your face, and avoid those people already sick (if you can).

Hope this helps.

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