Sore Throat

What is a Sore Throat?

A sore throat is a condition most commonly caused by viral or bacterial infections and may also be referred to as pharyngitis or pharyngeal inflammation. Sore throats can also be caused by environmental irritants such as smoke, chemical fumes or airborne allergens. It is usually characterized by pain or discomfort in the throat and sensitivity when swallowing.

Common Symptoms of a Sore Throat

  • Pain or scratchiness in the throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Redness in the throat
  • Swelling of the neck glands
  • A voice that is hoarse or husky
  • White patches on the throat or tonsils
  • A bumpy and swollen-looking tongue
  • Loss of appetite

Treatment of a Sore Throat

Most sore throats are usually caused by a virus and therefore do not require antibiotics. Treatments that may help give relief from the symptoms include:

  • Resting the voice and getting enough sleep
  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Gargling with warm salt water
  • Using a humidifier in the bedroom at night
  • Taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce fever and swelling
  • Using a throat spray or lozenge

When to Seek Medical Attention

Most sore throats go away on their own in a matter of days, but a doctor should be consulted if any of the following symptoms are present:

  • Persistent fever
  • Difficult breathing or swallowing
  • Severe pain that does not improve with over-the-counter medications
  • Swollen glands
  • White spots on the throat or tonsils
  • A rash