When Should I Visit Urgent Care with Strep Throat?

A sore throat can be a symptom of many things, including a cold, the flu or other viral infections. Strep throat is a bacterial infection that requires antibiotics to treat. Learning the symptoms of strep throat can be critical in making sure you receive the right care and avoid complications. 

What is strep throat?

Strep throat is caused by a bacterial infection, unlike most sore throats, which are caused by viruses. The infection is called group A strep and is most common in younger children, though people of all ages may be vulnerable to it. Symptoms are generally sudden and include:

  • Rapid onset sore throat
  • Pain or difficulty while swallowing 
  • Swollen and irritated tonsils which can also have patches of white or pus buildup
  • Rash on the roof of the mouth containing small red dots
  • Swollen glands and lymph nodes

Children may experience additional symptoms including nausea, vomiting, headaches and stomach cramps. 

How long can strep throat last?

Strep throat has an incubation period of up to five days and can be highly contagious, especially to people in close contact. The risk for catching strep throat rises substantially for those who share a home, dorm, day care, classroom or office with someone who has the infection. With antibiotics, strep throat can be treated in a few days.

When should I go to urgent care with strep throat?

In order to get the antibiotics needed to treat the infection, visit AFC Urgent Care Southcenter and be examined by one of our experienced medical providers. If you or your child have developed a sore throat that has not gone away in 48 hours, you should see a doctor for a proper diagnosis. Additional symptoms that should be assessed by a doctor include:

  • Fever
  • Swollen glands and lymph nodes
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing

You should return to AFC Urgent Care Southcenter for further examination if you or your child has been on antibiotics for 48 hours without signs of improvement. 

How can I prevent catching strep throat?

There are several steps you can take to make sure you stay healthy and avoid the strep infection. Washing your hands regularly throughout the day will help kill germs and buildup as long as you scrub thoroughly with antibacterial soap and hot water for at least 30 seconds. When teaching younger children how to wash their hands, have them sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” to learn timing. Whenever you cough or sneeze, use the “Vampire Method” of covering your mouth with the crook of your elbow to contain germs. Refrain from sharing cups and utensils with others, especially if they are sick. Wash all dishes with hot water and soap to kill germs. 

Walk-In Strep Throat Treatment in Southcenter, Kent, Tukwila, SeaTac & Renton, WA

If you begin to develop a sore throat or other symptoms, visit AFC Urgent Care Southcenter for diagnosis and treatment! Our center is open seven days a week and accepts both walk-in patients and most major insurance carriers. For questions, please call 425-970-8117.