The following procedure will help the healthcare provider properly diagnose pharyngitis.

  • Physical examination: The symptoms and medical history may be reviewed by a healthcare provider of you or your child. In the course of a physical examination, they will examine the neck, ears, and nasal passages using an illuminated device.

Using a stethoscope to gently feel the neck for enlarged glands, or lymph nodes, and to listen to your child’s breathing

  • Throat swab: The bacterium that causes strep throat, streptococcal, is often found through a straightforward test that healthcare providers perform. To collect a sample of secretions, the healthcare provider wipes a sterile swab across the back of the throat. The sample is then sent to a lab for analysis. Many clinics have a lab that can provide a quick antigen test result in a matter of minutes. On the other hand, a throat culture, which is a second and frequently more trustworthy test, is occasionally sent to a lab for findings that are returned in a day or two.

Rapid antigen tests can identify strep bacteria quickly, but their sensitivity is lower. As a result, if the antigen test is negative, the healthcare provider can request that a throat culture be sent to a lab for a strep throat diagnosis.
To identify streptococcal bacteria, healthcare providers might use molecular testing. A sterile swab is used by the healthcare provider to collect a sample of secretions from the back of the throat during this test. In a lab, the sample is examined. In a few minutes, the doctor treating you or your kid could have accurate findings.


Dealing with a sore throat can be uncomfortable, but several at-home treatments can help ease the symptoms. Here’s what you can do:

For immediate relief:

  • Warm liquids: Tea with honey and lemon, broth, or bouillon can soothe a dry, scratchy throat.
  • Ice: Sucking on ice chips or popsicles may also relieve sore throat pain.
  • Humidify your environment: Using a humidifier or vaporizer, especially in your bedroom at night, adds moisture to the air and helps with a dry throat.
  • Rest your voice: If your sore throat is due to excessive use of your voice (shouting, singing, or long conversations), give your vocal cords a break.

General wellness tips:

  • Adequate rest: Ensure you’re getting enough sleep at night, ideally around eight hours, to help your body recover.
  • Avoid irritants: Stay away from second-hand smoke, smoking, spicy foods, and very hot liquids as these can further irritate your sore throat. Consider quitting smoking, even temporarily.

Medical advice for bacterial infections

If your sore throat is caused by a bacterial infection, such as strep throat, your healthcare provider will prescribe antibiotics. It’s crucial to:

  • Complete the antibiotic course: Even if symptoms disappear, finishing all prescribed medication prevents the infection from worsening or spreading.
  • Avoid aspirin in children and teenagers: Due to the risk of Reye’s syndrome, a condition that can cause serious issues, including swelling of the liver and brain, aspirin should not be given to this age group. Opt for over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen instead.

When to seek medical attention
A viral sore throat typically resolves within five to seven days without medical intervention, and antibiotics are not effective against viruses. However, if you or your child’s sore throat is severe, persists for more than a week, or is accompanied by other symptoms like fever, rash, or difficulty swallowing, consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and treatment.