Be Careful With Your Sore Throat

A sore throat is an uncomfortable symptom that can appear due to a viral or bacterial infection. In most cases, the discomfort resolves on its own and causes no complications. However, sometimes you will need to seek medical attention to calm the symptom and fight the infection. Why should you be careful about your sore throat?

As it is a problem of multifactorial origin, it is important that you determine what its cause is in order to know if it requires medical treatment. You should also observe if it presents with other symptoms that may indicate a larger problem.

Causes of a sore throat

According to information published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most cases of sore throats are caused by viruses, such as those that cause colds and the flu. However, certain cases are caused by bacteria such as group A strep, which are responsible for strep throat infections.

Other possible causes of a sore throat include:

  • Allergies
  • Exposure to irritants or dry air
  • Smoking or being exposed to tobacco smoke
  • Muscle tension
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
Causes of a sore throat

Sore throat symptoms

A sore throat is not as such a disease, but a symptom. Despite this, it can be accompanied by other clinical manifestations depending on its cause. For example, when it comes to irritation from environmental causes, symptoms include:

  • Itching, stinging.
  • Irritating cough
  • Pain that worsens when you swallow or speak.
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Pain and swelling of the glands in the neck or jaw area.
  • Red and swollen tonsils.
  • White patches or pus on the tonsils.
  • Hoarse or muffled voice.

When the cause is infectious, the most frequent symptoms are:

  • Inflammation (with a sensation of heat).
  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Cold.
  • Sneezing
  • Pains in the body
  • Headache.
  • Nausea or vomiting

When should you be careful with your sore throat?

A sore throat is usually temporary and does not require medical intervention. However, if there are signs of complications, it is important to be careful and, if possible, see a doctor promptly. For children, a publication from the  American Academy of Pediatrics suggests seeking medical attention for serious signs such as:

  • Short of breath.
  • Swallowing difficulties.
  • Unusual drooling.

If you are an adult, the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery , suggests consulting if there is:

  • Severe pain that lasts more than a week.
  • Swallowing difficulties.
  • Short of breath.
  • Difficulty opening your mouth.
  • Earache.
  • Rashes.
  • Fever.
  • Bleeding in saliva or phlegm.
  • Joint pain.
  • Hoarseness.
  • Swelling in the neck or face.

Available treatments

When it comes to a viral infection, a sore throat passes on its own without the need for treatment. However, if there is fever and pain, the use of pain relievers such as acetaminophen may be helpful. If it is a bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotic treatments.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are other remedies that can help ease this pain. These include:

  • Drink hot or cold drinks.
  • Gargle with a saline solution.
  • Take antihistamines if the cause is an allergy.
  • Take a hot shower.
  • Take a tablespoon of honey (avoid its use in babies).
Available treatments


Through the Mayo Clinic they explain a series of recommendations to reduce the risk of sore throat. It is important that you take them into account from now on, as they are key to avoiding infections.

  • Wash your hands regularly, especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing or sneezing.
  • Do not share food, glasses or cutlery or anything that you put in your mouth.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if you don’t have access to soap and water.
  • Avoid touching public telephones, railings or any object that is manipulated by several people.
  • Use a disinfectant to clean regularly items you use like TV remote controls and computer keyboards frequently with a disinfectant.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Do you have a sore throat? As you can see, it is almost always something slight. However, many cases require professional attention. Observe the symptoms and consult if you consider it pertinent.

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