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Is there a way to differentiate between a viral and a bacterial sore throat?

(4 Posts)
NannyR Sat 06-Jun-15 21:14:23

I've had a generally sore throat and glands since Tuesday, but didn't feel too ill, pain was okay with occasional paracetamol.
Yesterday and today, the pain has been worse and definitely at one side, I've no temp but feel shivery and off colour. Alternating paracetamol and aspirin every couple of hours but still quite painful to swallow.

I know that most sore throats are viral and clear up on their own and I don't feel ill enough for it to be tonsillitis, but this seems to have been going on a while and not really getting better. At what point do I need to see the gp?

RoganJosh Sat 06-Jun-15 21:17:24

My gp measures by:

More than three days
Pus visible on tonsils
No cough

If all three are positive then they give antibiotics.

I think if you're shivery it's probably a virus though. Sorry. I hope you're better soon in any case.

RoganJosh Sat 06-Jun-15 21:18:56

Actually, the shiveryness could just be because you're really ill, maybe look at the other indicators.

NannyR Thu 11-Jun-15 20:43:24

I thought I'd write an update as it may be helpful if anyone is searching for info in future.

My "could be a virus/doesn't really warrant an OOH appt" sore throat actually turned out to be a quinsy (something I'd never really heard of)

My symptoms (by sunday morning) were one sided throat pain, severe difficulty swallowing and talking, ear ache and toothache, shivering, tiredness and generally feeling really out of sorts.

I was told that if I had turned up at a and e with those symptoms on Sunday I would have been taken very seriously, instead I waited until the GP opened on Monday morning.

I was admitted, had the abscess drained and had IV antibiotics, steroids and fluids and I felt 110% better within a couple of hours.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that, I was a bit stupid in not getting help earlier (can only put it down to having a temperature and not thinking straight), we have it drilled into us that sore throats are minor complaints and we shouldn't waste GP appts on them, but that isn't always the case. Quinsy can be quite dangerous as your airway can be compromised with the swelling. I was (gently!) told off by both the gp and the hospital for waiting so long.

If you're worried get it checked out!

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