Hold the antibiotics: Your sore throat may not be strep

- Dolores Lloves-Cid brought her daughter Julia to the doctor. The 2-year-old was running a high fever and had a sore throat.

"She was very uncomfortable, her body was aching, and there was just so many tests they had to run to find out exactly what she had," Lloves-Sid said.

But doctors say it wasn't strep throat. Instead, she had a viral infection commonly confused with the bacterial infection.

A sore throat is clinically known as pharyngitis, which just means an inflamed, irritated throat.

"That can be caused by lots of different reasons—from bacteria, like strep, to viral infections," said Dr. Christina Johns, senior medical advisor of PM Pediatrics.

More than three-quarters of patients she has seen with sore-throat symptoms in the past week have tested negative for strep.

With school in full swing, kids in small enclosed spaces, like buses and classrooms, can easily get sick.

"We tend to see a seasonality with strep sometimes and if there seems to be a lot of it going around— people aren't washing their hands as well as they could, sharing drinks, then we will see an increase in strep infections," Dr. Johns said.

Doctors say always get your sore throat checked out and only take antibiotics for the right reasons. Treating a sore throat caused by a virus won't do you any good.

"Sore throats from strep and sore throats from other illnesses—viruses or from allergies—can all look exactly alike," Dr. Johns said. "Sometimes there's fever, sometimes there isn't, sometimes there's a decrease in appetite, sometimes there's cough. And those can all be a little bit tricky to sort out, which is why getting a test is important."

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