Throat infections cause white spots on the tonsils, loss of appetite and painful swallowing, according to WebMD. A rapid strep test performed by a physician helps determine whether a patient has a throat infection or a sore throat caused by a common cold, reports MedicineNet.
A throat culture identifies the presence of bacteria in the throat. Patients who receive a negative reading from a rapid strep test but exhibit signs of a throat infection typically undergo a throat culture, according to WebMD. Individuals receive the results from the throat culture within 24 hours.
Antibiotics, such as penicillin or amoxicillin, help treat throat infections. Without proper treatment, kidney inflammation, kidney damage or rheumatic fever may occur, states MedicineNet. A person undergoing antibiotic treatment should contact a physician if additional symptoms such as swollen glands, nausea or earache appear, as these symptoms may indicate other health issues, reports WebMD.
More common in infants and children, throat infections affect between 5 to 10 percent of people experiencing a sore throat, MedicineNet explains. A sore throat caused by a viral infection cannot be treated with antibiotics. Over-the-counter medications such as naproxen or ibuprofen, decongestants, and cough lozenges help relieve pain, states WebMD. A sore throat caused by a common cold typically clears up as the individual recovers from the cold.