A sore throat is a dry, painful and scratchy feeling in the throat. Pain in the throat is the most common sign of it. Dry air or infection is the cause of most sore throats. Even though it is very uncomfortable, sore throats will usually go away on its own.
Sore Throat Symptoms
You can experience a variety of symptoms depending on the cause of your sore throat. These symptoms include:
- Hoarse voice
- Nasal congestion
- Body aches
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble swallowing
- Swollen glands in the neck
What Causes Sore Throat Infections?
The most common causes of sore throat infections are:
- Smoke, chemicals, and other irritants
- Dry air
- Strep throat and other bacterial infections
- The flu, colds, and other viral infections
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
Is a Sore Throat Infection Contagious?
A sore throat caused by viral and bacterial infection is contagious and can be transmitted from one person to another. Mucus and nasal discharge containing the viruses or bacteria can cause a sore throat. Even kissing can transfer these bacteria and viruses.
How a Sore Throat Infection Is Diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and use a light to check the back of your throat for white spots, redness, and swelling. They might also check the sides of your neck to see if you have swollen glands. They will run a swab over the back of your throat and collect a sample to test for strep throat bacteria. Your doctor will get the results with a quick strep test and to confirm the diagnosis, your sample will be sent for a lab test.
When to See a Doctor for Your Sore Throat Infection
Sore throats caused by a viral infection usually go away on its own in two to seven days. However, some sore throat causes need to be treated. You should see a doctor if you have any of these serious symptoms:
- Painful or stiff neck
- Severe sore throat
- Trouble swallowing
- A sore throat that lasts for more than a week
- Sore joints
- Trouble breathing
- A fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit
- Trouble opening your mouth
How to Cure Sore Throat Infections
You can take over-the-counter medications to relieve the pain of a sore throat, which includes:
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
Also, the following treatments as well can relieve the pain of a sore throat:
- Cough syrup
- A sore throat spray that contains numbing antiseptic like phenol, or a cooling ingredient like eucalyptus or menthol
- Throat lozenges
Proper rest and medication can tackle sore throat. But if your symptoms persist, you should consider visiting a doctor to find the right treatment for you.