Strep throat has joined the flu in news headlines, with schools nationwide reporting widespread cases of both illnesses. So how can you tell the difference between a regular sore throat and strep? A “regular” sore throat caused by a cold tends to develop over a few days, accompanied by a runny nose, postnasal drip, cough, a low-grade fever or no fever. With strep, a sore throat comes on more suddenly with difficulty swallowing, red and swollen tonsils, higher fever and sometimes a headache and nausea. If this sounds familiar, it’s time to see a doctor for a simple swab test.