What Causes a Sore Throat?

What Causes a Sore Throat
  • Viruses, like those that cause cold and flu
  • Allergies
  • Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
  • The bacteria group A strep, which causes strep throat

Of these, infections from viruses are the most common cause of sore throats. Symptoms of sore throat whether caused by virus or bacteria can be similar.

Symptoms that suggest a virus is the cause of the illness instead of bacteria:

  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Hoarseness
  • Conjunctivitis or pink eye

The most common symptoms of strep throat are:

  • Sore throat that starts very quickly
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Fever
  • Red/swollen tonsils that may have white patches or streaks of pus
  • Tiny red spots on the roof of the mouth
  • Swollen lymph nodes on the neck

Here are some ways to feel better if you have a sore throat:

  • Suck on popsicles, ice chips, or lozenges
  • Use a humidifier or cool mist vaporizer
  • Gargle with salt water
  • Drink warm beverages and plenty of fluids
  • Remember to always wash your hands to help prevent the spread of germs.

Schedule an appointment to see a provider if you have symptoms of strep throat.

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