Tuesday Tactic with Mitchel Schwindt, M.D.

The Billion $ Sore Throat

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[rad_rapidology_locked optin_id=optin_1][/rad_rapidology_locked]A Simple Sore Throat

To Strep, or Not?

That is the question.

As a physician, this is the most common of all complaints.  I hear this every day from my patients, family and friends.

The exact scope of the problem is hard to pin down, but the annual expenditure in the U.S. for this problem is north of a billion dollars a year.  I wrote about this in my book, The Patient’s Guide, and shared that there are over 12 million visits per year for this problem.  The cost tally a few years back was $1.2 billion dollars, with an average visit cost between $150-300.  Worldwide, this number is over 10 million cases of strep infections.


As I write this, I had a tough time finding current statistics that were relevant.  No matter that’s not why you’re here anyway.

Note that strep is a type of bacteria and it can cause serious infections of the soft tissue (necrotizing fasciitis and toxic shock).  Fortunately, these are less common than a sore throat.

How To Treat A Sore Throat Without Spending $150

Watch this short video where I lay it all out in plain language.



Here are a few links to signs physicians look for to determine strep throat.

  • Exudate = white pus or goo on tonsils  (http://www.healthline.com/health/strep-throat#Overview1)
  • Doughnut lesions on the soft palate (http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/466335) These are raised bumps on the roof of the mouth.

Predicting Strep Throat

Use this quick checklist to help predict if strep is the cause.

Centor Criteria for Strep

Centor Criteria

Score                Risk of Strep Throat         Treatment



If you want a more detailed discussion, visit this popular post:  Don’t Spend $150 For A Sore Throat.

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Image Credit:  BigStock Thermometer


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