Strep Throat Specialist

Commonwealth Medical Center

Primary Care Practice & Urgent Care located in Arlington, VA

If you or a loved one is suffering from a severe sore throat that won’t go away, strep throat might be the cause. Come into Commonwealth Medical Center, located in Arlington, Virginia, to find out and get relief for your pain. You can book an appointment online or over the phone, or you can walk into their urgent care for same-day care.

Strep Throat Q&A

What is strep throat?

Strep throat is a bacterial infection caused by Streptococcus pyogenes, sometimes called group A streptococcus. While strep throat is most common in children, anyone can catch it. This highly contagious infection travels through the air in droplets and can settle onto surfaces like doorknobs.

When left untreated, strep throat can cause inflammatory conditions like:

  • Rheumatic fever
  • Scarlet fever
  • Poststreptococcal reactive arthritis
  • Kidney inflammation.

In addition, the infection can spread to other areas of the body, including the:

  • Middle ear
  • Tonsils
  • Blood
  • Sinuses
  • Skin

What are the symptoms of strep throat?

Typically, strep throat starts off as a sore or scratchy throat that appears suddenly. As time goes on, the sore throat gets worse, and you develop other symptoms like:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Tender and swollen lymph nodes and/or tonsils
  • Small red bumps on the back area of the roof of your mouth
  • Pus streaks or red patches on your tonsils
  • Fever
  • Body aches
  • Rash
  • Nausea or vomiting (mostly in children)

When should I see a doctor for strep throat?

Because strep throat starts off as a sore throat, it’s easy to initially confuse with a cold virus. However, if you or your child develop any of the following symptoms, it may be strep, and you should go see a doctor:

  • A sore throat lasting longer than 48 hours
  • A sore throat coupled with a rash
  • A sore throat coupled with a fever
  • Trouble swallowing

Also, if you’ve already been diagnosed with strep throat, and your symptoms haven’t improved within two days of taking your antibiotics, go back to the doctor.

When you visit the Commonwealth Medical Center, the team first checks you for strep throat using a rapid antigen test. This test spots antigens, or substances that indicate strep, from a throat swab sample. The test gives a positive or negative answer within minutes.

Sometimes, a rapid antigen test produces a n@egative result, but the team still suspects strep. When this is the case, they will perform a more thorough test called a throat culture. To get the necessary sample, they reach down and rub a sterile swab stick against your tonsils and throat. A member of the team then tests this sample more thoroughly at Commonwealth Medical’s on-site lab. Results of a throat culture can take up to two days.

If you suspect strep throat is the source of your or your child’s pain, don’t wait around until it gets worse. Instead, make an appointment online or over the phone with Commonwealth Medical Center today.