Sore throat is a very common ailment. In the majority of cases, it’s caused by a virus, and will settle down within a few days, without any need for treatment. Sometimes it’s caused by bacteria- namely, streptococcus or ” strep throat”, which can result in fevers, large painful glands in the neck and difficulty swallowing. Occasionally skin rashes can occur with it. Penicillin is the usual choice of antibiotic in the case of strep infection, with Erythromycin being a common alternative. If a doctor is not sure whether a sore throat is viral or bacterial ( it can be hard to tell simply by looking), they may suggest a swab test to help decide whether antibiotics are needed. There are now rapid swab tests that can give the answer within 5 minutes- many doctors now offer this simple on-the spot investigation. To learn more about causes, diagnosis and treatment, read our article below.