The dry, scratchiness and painful swallowing of a sore throat can make you miserable. In fact, sore throats are one of the most common reasons people go to see the doctor. Some sore throats are caused by bacteria that can be treated with antibiotics. But most sore throats are caused by viral infections that will clear up on their own.
Sore Throat Symptoms
The basic symptoms of a sore throat are dryness, scratchiness, or swelling in the throat, and pain when swallowing, breathing or talking. In many cases, sore throats happen in conjunction with another illness, like a cold, that has its own set of symptoms.
If your sore throat is accompanied by any of these symptoms, you see your doctor to find out if special treatment such as an antibiotic is necessary.
• Severe throat pain or a sore throat that lasts longer than a week
• White patches or pus on the throat or tonsils
• Difficulty swallowing or breathing
• Tender or swollen lymph nodes in the neck
• Skin rash
• Hoarseness or cough lasting over two weeks
• Blood in the saliva or phlegm
• High fever – over 101 F in babies under 6 years, over 103 F in older children and adults
• Signs of dehydration including sunken eyes, severe weakness, or decreased urine output
• Sore throats that keep coming back
• Excessive drooling in young children
Sore throat causes
Most sore throats are caused by viral infections, like a cold or the flu. Some sore throats are caused by bacterial infections such as strep throat or tonsillitis. Other causes of sore throats include:
• Allergies – The same allergens that trigger your nose to run or your eyes to become red and swollen can also make your throat sore. Sinus drainage from allergies can make a sore throat feel worse.
• Dryness – Dry indoor air can make your throat feel scratchy, especially in the morning when you first wake up. Breathing through your mouth can make this worse. Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air, especially in the winter when heaters can dry the air inside your home.