How do I know if I have strep throat or bronchitis?


The symptoms of strep throat and bronchitis can be similar, but there are some key differences. Strep throat is a bacterial infection that affects the throat and tonsils, while bronchitis is a viral or bacterial infection that affects the airways leading to the lungs.

Symptoms of strep throat can include:

  • Sore throat that develops suddenly
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • White or yellow spots on the tonsils and back of the throat
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rash

Symptoms of bronchitis can include:

  • Cough that produces mucus (sputum)
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest discomfort
  • Low-grade fever
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Headache

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis. They may perform a rapid strep test to check for strep throat, or order a chest X-ray or other tests to check for bronchitis. Treatment for strep throat typically involves antibiotics, while treatment for bronchitis may involve rest, hydration, and over-the-counter medications to alleviate symptoms.

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