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Doctor checking the throat of the patient

Strep throat is a common reason for visits to urgent care centers. Since it’s caused by bacteria, a doctor might prescribe antibiotics to treat it. However, some patients are surprised to learn that what they thought was strep throat is actually mononucleosis. To confirm the diagnosis, the physician can perform a simple lab test.

Comparing Strep Throat and Mononucleosis

Strep throat and mono are different in a few key ways. Mono is caused by a virus, usually the Epstein-Barr virus. Strep throat is caused by group A streptococcus bacteria. Because of this, strep throat is treatable with antibiotics, but mono is not. Mono is also less contagious.

Diagnosing Your Symptoms

Mono and strep throat can both cause similar symptoms. These include the following:

  • Sore throat
  • Painful swallowing
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Swollen and tender lymph nodes
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Rash

If you have mono, your sore throat will feel better within a week or two. But you can have lingering fatigue for weeks or perhaps months. For some people, the fatigue of mono is nothing more than a minor inconvenience. Other people experience it intensely. The fatigue may be so severe that it’s difficult to do simple tasks, like eating or bathing. Strep throat won’t cause this intense, long-lasting fatigue. But since the early symptoms of both types of infections are so similar, the only way for healthcare providers to confirm a diagnosis is to run a lab test. The urgent care physician will swab the back of your throat to collect a sample of cells for testing.

Recovering from Your Infection

If you do have strep throat instead of mono, then antibiotics can help. For either type of infection, doctors recommend the following self-care strategies:

  • Get lots of rest.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Gargle with saltwater for your sore throat.
  • Avoid returning to normal activities until you’re fully recovered.

Patients who have long-lasting fatigue from mono may need to follow a modified schedule of activities when returning to work or school.

If your symptoms are severe or persistent, you can find the medical care you need in Orlando at Paramount Urgent Care. For more information, please visit Our walk-in clinic is open seven days per week, from 8 AM to 8 PM.