While most sore throats are caused by viral infections, some are caused by bacterial infections and require treatment. A common type of bacteria is called group A streptococcal bacteria, and the contagious infection is called strep throat.
“We typically wait to treat a sore throat with antibiotics until we have confirmed that it is, indeed, strep throat,” says Jesse D. Hoff, MD, family medicine physician at Saint Francis Medical Center. “To do that, we do a rapid strep antigen test in the office or if necessary take a throat culture and wait one to two days for the result. If you have strep throat, you will take an antibiotic such as penicillin or amoxicillin. You will no longer be contagious 24 hours after you start the treatment.”
While you are waiting for the infection to go away, you should drink plenty of fluids to keep yourself hydrated. “Use a humidifier to keep your throat moist and get plenty of rest,” says Hoff.
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