When Should I Worry About A Sore Throat

No one likes having a sore throat. Not only is having a sore throat uncomfortable, but in many cases, sore throats can be caused by viral infections which means there will likely be other symptoms. It can also be tough to determine what is the cause of your sore throat. In fact, numerous health conditions may play a role in having an itchy, irritated sore throat. Below is more information on the possible causes of an irritated throat and when you should be worried about your sore throat.

Common Causes of a Sore Throat

The most common cause for developing a sore throat is a virus. Beyond a virus, a more severe sore throat may be an indication of possible strep throat, which is caused by a bacterial infection. Individuals with strep throat also often have high fevers or pus on the tonsils. Other health conditions that can cause a sore throat include acid reflux, tonsil stones, muscle tension, and mononucleosis, also known as mono. Acid reflux can cause discomfort and heartburn and if the acid moves up the throat it can also lead to a sore throat. Tonsil stones are small pieces of food that get stuck in the tonsils resulting in inflammation and irritation. Additional causes of a sore throat may include an environmental exposure, such as an allergy or an irritant, or overuse and excessive strain, like yelling at a concert.

How To Treat Your Sore Throat

Most physicians will recommend people experiencing a sore throat treat their discomfort with rest and hydration. If your throat is severely sore and has been for a few days, then you should call your physician to schedule a strep swab. If your strep swab is positive your physician will likely suggest you take antibiotics. In some rare cases, adults will experience strep throat multiple times in a year. These individuals may be good candidates for a tonsillectomy procedure. To sooth a sore throat without having to take antibiotics, you can try a few home treatments, including non-caffeinated warm tea or hot water with honey.

When to be Concerned About Your Sore Throat

Having a sore throat is a common symptom of many different illnesses, ranging from non-serious to more serious. Because a sore throat is so common, it is often not a reason to be worried. In most cases, a sore throat is due to overuse of the voice or a viral infection. However, a severe or persistent pain in the throat may be an indication of a more serious health problem. If you have a sore throat for several days and you develop other symptoms, such as fever, cough, or muscle aches you should contact your physician soon and schedule a visit. It may also be worthwhile to consider getting tested for COVID-19.

For a sore throat that lasts for longer than three weeks and is accompanied by difficulty swallowing or weight loss, you should schedule a visit to see your doctor to eliminate the possibility of other severe health conditions.

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