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About Sore throat

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A sore throat, also known as pharyngitis, may feel coarse, irritated, or swollen. Inflammation in the throat can be made more painful when talking or swallowing. Common symptoms of a sore throat include:

  • Dryness and/or hoarseness
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck or jaw
  • Pain or difficulty when swallowing
  • Swollen tonsils that are red or have patches of white discharge
  • Changes to your vocal quality

Other symptoms that can accompany a sore throat include chills, coughing, fever, earache, sneezing, nausea, headache, or stuffy nose. These symptoms often indicate infection, whether it’s viral, fungal, or bacterial. Viral infections like the common cold and the flu are the most common causes of a sore throat. Strep throat is the most common bacterial infection of the throat, which affects 1 in 10 adults and 3 in 10 children every year. Other serious illnesses involving a sore throat include tonsillitis and mononucleosis.

Not all sore throats are caused by infection. A sore throat may result from non-infectious causes including overuse of the voice, sleeping with your mouth open, acid reflux, pollution, and allergies. Talk to your doctor if you have hoarseness that lasts longer than two weeks, chronic or recurring sore throats, trouble breathing, a visible lump at the back of the throat, excessive drooling (in children), or a sore throat that is accompanied by an extremely high temperature (over 100.4 F).

Treatment Options

Treatment options for a sore throat vary depending on its underlying cause. Most cases of sore throat caused by the common cold or flu will go away without treatment in about 5 to 7 days. During your appointment, talk to your doctor or provider about which of these treatment plans is right for you.

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