How to Diagnose Strep Throat

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Streptococcus bacteria causes severe sore throat pain associated with strep throat. Strep is a common but serious bacteria that can spread to the heart valves if left untreated. Examining your throat and evaluating related symptoms with the aid of these tips will help you determine whether or not you have strep throat.

Difficulty:
Moderate

Instructions

Things You'll Need

  • Thermometer
  • Flashlight
  • Mirror
  • Thermometers
  • Mirrors
  • Flashlights
    • 1

      Take your temperature. If you have strep, your temperature will be 100 degrees F or higher.

    • 2

      Examine your throat. Get a bright flashlight or bendable-arm lamp. Position your face in front of a mirror. Shine the light onto the back of your throat.

    • 3

      Look for severe redness or red patches near and on your tonsils and the roof of your mouth, a possible sign of strep throat.

    • 4

      Look for white spots or pus patches inside your mouth, as well as a white furry coating on your tongue--other possible signs of strep.

    • 5

      Assess your ability to swallow. When you take a sip of water, do you have to gulp it past your throat? Does the liquid feel like it's getting stuck in your throat? This means your throat is swollen, due to inflammation, and is another possible indication of strep throat.

    • 6

      Cup your hand over your mouth, exhale deeply and smell your breath. If it smells bad, this is another indication of strep throat.

    • 7

      Feel the glands that lie where the back of your jaw line meets the top of your neck. If you feel lumps, your lymph glands are swollen--yet another possible sign of strep throat.

    • 8

      Check your body for signs of rash. If you have a high fever, severe sore throat and a rash, you may have a strep throat that has advanced to scarlet fever.

    • 9

      Ask your doctor for a throat culture. This is the surest way to know if you have strep throat.

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