Sore throats are almost as common as the "common cold," and most of the time drinking lots of fluids and waiting it out is the best treatment. But not all sore throats are created equal, with streptococcal infections (a.k.a. "strep throat") not being something laying on the couch will cure. Left untreated, strep throat can evolve into something much more serious like rheumatic fever -- which can permanently damage heart valves and other organs.
So what to look for when figuring if it's a the regular harmless variety or something more serious? Visiting your doctor is the safest bet, but these are the symptoms to look for:
- (Obviously) A sore throat
- Redness of the throat, with white patches
- Pain and/or difficulty swallowing
- Nausea/loss of appetite
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Generalized malaise