Sore Throat Causes, Symptoms And How To Treat

For those who don’t know what sore throat is, it is a painful, scratchiness or irritation of the throat that often worsens anytime you swallow. One of the most common cause of a sore throat (pharyngitis) is a viral infection, like a cold or the flu. Although any sore throat caused by a virus resolves on its own.

A strep throat (streptococcal infection), which happens to be a less common type of sore throat caused by bacteria, requires treatment with antibiotics to prevent further complications.

The Symptoms

The symptoms of sore throat may vary depending on the cause. Some of the signs and symptoms might include:

  • A painful or a scratchy sensation on the throat
  • A pain which worsens when swallowing or talking
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • A sore, swollen glands in your neck or jaw
  • A swollen and red tonsils
  • A white patches or pus on your tonsils
  • Having a hoarse or muffled voice

Some infections that causes a sore throat might result in other signs and symptoms, which includes:

  • Little fever
  • Having cough
  • A runny nose
  • By sneezing
  • Having body aches
  • Little headache
  • And nausea or vomiting

The Causes

The viruses that cause the common cold and the flu also causes most sore throats. Although less often, bacterial infections causes sore throats.

The Viral Infections

The viral illnesses that can cause a sore throat include:

  • A common cold
  • A flu (influenza)
  • Mono (mononucleosis)
  • Measles
  • Chickenpox
  • A croup, which is a common childhood illness characterized by a harsh, barking cough.

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The Bacterial Infections

It has been known that a number of bacterial infections can cause a sore throat, and the most common of it is Streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococcus) which causes strep throat.

The other causes of a sore throat include:

  • Allergies: An allergy to pet dander, molds, dust and pollen can cause a sore throat. This problem can be complicated by postnasal drip, which can irritate and inflame the throat.
  • Dryness: A dry indoor air has the ability to make your throat feel rough and scratchy. This can make you breathe through your mouth.
  • Irritants: This can be because of outdoor air pollution and indoor pollution such as tobacco smoke or chemicals.
  • Muscle strain: Sometimes you can strain muscles in your throat by yelling, talking loudly or talking for too long without rest.
  • Tumors: Having cancerous tumors of the throat, tongue or voice box (larynx) can cause a sore throat.


Sometimes, sore throats do not require treatment and will resolve themselves within a week. Although an OTC medication may help relieve symptoms. You can purchase some medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Please note that patients with stomach or kidney problems should not take aspirin or ibuprofen. Below are tips which may also help manage a sore throat:

A Home-Care

  • You should avoid foods or drinks that are very hot as they may irritate the throat.
  • Taking a cool drinks and cool soft foods can help relieve symptoms.
  • Taking warm drinks (not hot) might also help.
  • Don’t smoke, this will irritate the throat, as well as a smoky environment.
  • By sucking ice cubes, it will help symptoms (beware of giving them to young children).
  • By gargling with mouthwash, it will reduce swelling and alleviate pain; a slightly salted warm water is best.

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