Is it strep throat?

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Brad Hamilton, PA-C, physician assistant with CHI Memorial Convenient Care – Atrium.


It’s happened to all of us – you woke up with a dry, scratchy throat that’s getting worse by the minute. Is it just a viral cold, allergies – or a bacteria that requires antibiotics to treat?

Most of the time, a sore throat is the result of allergies and sinus drainage that are irritating the back of the throat. Over the counter medications and home remedies like drinking warm fluids, gargling with salt water and using a humidifier at night will help ease symptoms. People with strep throat often have pain and difficulty swallowing combined with a persistent increased temperature at or a near a fever 100.4° F.

Strep throat is quite common in children, but not as common in adults. Strep throat is caused by bacteria, certain strains of the bacteria need to be treated. Without treatment, you may remain contagious with the bacteria, and for children it can cause severe health risks if untreated. If you have a positive strep test, antibiotics will treat the infection and help prevent the spread of the bacteria to others.

It can be hard to know what over-the-counter medications are right for your specific symptoms. That’s why I encourage my patients to have a conversation with the pharmacist to get recommendations and find the most effective symptom relief before seeing a healthcare provider. And when things continue to worsen or don’t improve after several days, a visit to our walk-in convenient care clinic is appropriate.

You don’t need an appointment at CHI Memorial Convenient Care – Atrium. Walk-ins are welcome! The clinic is open Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and is located at 1949 Gunbarrel Road, Suite 200 Building 1, Chattanooga, TN. Call 495-498-5980 for more information. To learn more about CHI Memorial Convenient Care – Atrium, visit

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Doctor Talk, CHI Memorial's blog, focuses on health and welness.