OOA: The Difference between Sore Throat, Strep Throat & Tonsillitis.


The terms “sore throat,” “strep throat” and “tonsillitis” are often used interchangeably—but many people do not understand  that they do not mean the same thing.

With the change in seasons and Oklahoma weather comes allergies and colds.  We at Oklahoma Otolaryngology Associates want to make sure that the people of Oklahoma City metro area realize that there is a difference between a sore throat, strep throat and tonsillitis.


Strep throat is an infection caused by a specific type of bacteria, “Streptococcus.” When you or your child have strep throat, the tonsils are usually very inflamed, and the inflammation may affect the surrounding part of the throat as well. It is important to be able to recognize that strep throat is a possibility as this is something you would need to see your doctor for treatment.


Tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils, usually due to infection. There are several signs of tonsillitis, including:

  • Red and swollen tonsils

  • White or yellow coating over the tonsils

  • A “throaty” voice

  • Sore throat

  • Uncomfortable or painful swallowing

  • Swollen lymph nodes (“glands”) in the neck

  • Fever

In years past, it was very common for children to have their tonsils and adenoids taken out. Today, it is still very important to see a physician if you are suspicious that you or your child have tonsillitis, making sure that the care and treatment needed are applied promptly and with the expert advice of your otolaryngologist.


Some causes of sore throats are due to a virus and you may only see inflammation in the throat around the tonsils, but not the tonsils themselves.  Sufferers should recover in seven to ten days. Often those with sore throats due to viruses may also have a cold at the same time. A mild fever may also accompany the sore throat, but generally the illness should not worsen beyond these symptoms.

As your leading ENT Oklahoma City experts, Oklahoma Otolaryngology Associates would like to keep our surrounding communities as well-educated and well-informed as possible. We want to make sure we are earning our standing as the very best otolaryngologists for sore throat treatment in Oklahoma!  

Call to make an appointment if you are having any ear, nose or throat issues or questions.  Check out our website for further educational materials and resources.

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