Flu, Strep & Mono
Is it Just a Cold or is it Something More?
Having a sore throat, stuffy nose, and other cold symptoms might not seem serious, but it’s important to seek medical care if they become worse or linger. Strep, mono, and the flu are conditions that can quickly become serious or lead to complications that require hospitalization if they are left untreated. Being tested for these illnesses can determine whether or not you have them, so you can start treatment right away.
Strep throat is a bacterial infection that causes a severe sore throat, fever, headaches, and other symptoms. This infection can cause serious complications if strep bacteria spreads to the tonsils, blood, sinuses, or other parts of the body. It can also lead to other complications, such as kidney inflammation or scarlet fever, when it is left untreated. Tests for strep throat include a rapid antigen test that provides results within minutes and a throat culture that provides results within a few days. Throat cultures are typically performed for a more accurate diagnosis if rapid antigen test results are negative. If you do have strep throat, you will be given antibiotics to clear up the infection.
Mononucleosis, or mono, is a viral infection that causes a severe sore throat, fatigue, and other symptoms. Mono can also occur with secondary infections, such as strep or sinus infections, and it can also cause enlargement of the spleen, which can become life-threatening if your spleen ruptures. Tests for mono include antibody tests that check for antibodies to Epstein-Barr virus, which causes this illness, and white blood cell count tests to check for elevated levels of white blood cells that indicate an infection. If you do have mono, treatment for it typically involves rest and plenty of fluids. Since it is a viral infection, antibiotics are not effective.
Influenza, or the flu, is often confused with the common cold. This viral illness usually goes away on its own with rest and other home care measures, but it can increase the risk of complications in some people, such as the elderly, very young children, and those with other health problems. Tests for the flu include rapid influenza diagnostic tests, which usually provide results within 30 minutes. In some cases, swab tests are done for more accurate results. These tests involve taking a swab of your nose or throat and having it tested in a lab.
Pinnacle ER has diagnostic tests available for strep, mono, and flu in order to provide you with accurate results and begin treatment if necessary.