Tonsillitis and strep throat are two common causes of throat pain. Because they have similar symptoms, it can be hard to distinguish between the two, and sometimes they even get mistaken for the same illness.
Let’s take a closer look at the similarities and differences between the two, as well as when to see a doctor and possible treatment options.
What Is Strep Throat?
Strep throat is caused by a bacteria called group A Streptococcus. It’s quite common and is estimated to be responsible for 5-15% of all adult cases and 20 to 30% of all pediatric cases of sore throat.
If you have strep throat, you will likely experience:
- Sore throat
- Tender, swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Small red spots on the roof of your mouth
- Pain or difficulty when swallowing
- Body aches
- Nausea or vomiting
Treating Strep Throat
Because strep throat is caused by bacteria, antibiotics are prescribed to treat the infection. Additionally, you can help manage your symptoms at home by doing things like getting plenty of rest, drinking warm liquids, using throat lozenges and gargling with warm, salty water. Maybe you can even get your partner or friend to bring you home a cup of soup or hot tea from Roots Café!
What Is Tonsillitis?
Tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils. Unlike strep throat, tonsillitis has many possible causes, including the cold and other viruses. It can also be caused by bacteria, including the same bacteria that causes strep throat, so it is possible to have both conditions at once.
As mentioned, tonsillitis shares many of the same symptoms as strep throat but also can cause:
- Redness and swelling in the tonsils
- White or yellow discoloration on or near the tonsils
- Stiff neck
Treatment often depends on the cause. If it’s caused by bacteria, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. If caused by a virus, you may just need to rest and use the same home remedies to relieve throat pain that you would with strep.
In extreme cases, where the tonsil swelling is bad enough to affect your breathing, your doctor will prescribe steroids to help decrease inflammation. In cases of chronic tonsillitis that don’t respond to other treatments, a tonsillectomy, or surgical removal of the tonsils may be recommended.
If you need treatment for your throat pain, call the experts at Pinnacle ENT and schedule an appointment today.