There are many different reasons why the throat could be sore. Some reasons are more serious than others. The cause of the sore throat will determine what kind of treatment is necessary.

Bacterial Sore Throat

The most well known form of a bacterial infection resulting in a sore throat is the streptococcus bacteria. This is the virus that causes the infamous strep throat.

Symptoms of strep throat will typically be more severe than those of a sore throat caused by some other cause, such as the common cold. Strep throat symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Malaise
  • Red throat with white spots
  • Swollen tonsils

Because many of these symptoms can overlap with other causes, your doctor will often run a test called the “strep throat rapid antigen test.” However, if your symptoms are very severe, then a physician may use their best judgement and order antibiotics without waiting for test results.

Viral Sore Throat

A viral sore throat is caused by a virus rather than bacterial infection. Viruses are not affected by antibiotic drugs, so they are not prescribed unless bacterial infection is strongly suspected or confirmed.

The most common viruses that cause a sore throat are the common cold and influenza. Symptoms of these viruses may overlap with strep throat symptoms, however a cold or flu will likely present greater upper respiratory symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, sneezing, ear pressure, etc.

Rather than prescribing antibiotics, a physician is likely to advise rest and plenty of fluids for a cold or flu virus.

Allergies and Sinus

Allergies and sinus issues may cause an excess of mucus that can drain down the back of the throat. Persistent mucus drainage can result in a sore throat.

When to See a Doctor

If your symptoms persist more than a few days, or if they keep recurring, then it is time to make an appointment with a specialist. Otolaryngologists, more commonly known as ENTs, specialize in the ear, nose, and throat. If your symptoms are persistently interfering with your life, getting the opinion of an ENT is your next step.

Our ENTs have expertise in dealing with sore throat maladies and are trained to get to the root of the problem so you can live your life. Please give us a call today.