Why Do I Have a Persistent Sore Throat

Sore throats often result in pain, hoarseness, and burning sensation when you swallow. While most sore throats only last a few days, in some cases a sore throat can be persistent, recurring multiple times a year or long term (chronic). A persistent sore throat may be caused by a number of things, including a potentially dangerous infection. To know how to treat a persistent sore throat, you first need to identify the cause. Below is a bit more information on the possible causes of a persistent sore throat.

Possible Causes of a Persistent Sore Throat

A number of health conditions can cause a persistent sore throat, including:

Allergies: For individuals with allergies, their immune system is hyper-reactive to certain substances called allergens. Common allergens include foods, certain plants, pet dander, dust, and pollen. If you have allergies associated with things you breathe in (pollen, dust, mold, etc), this may be the cause of your sore throat.

Postnasal drip: Postnasal drip is when excess mucus drains from the sinuses into the back of the throat. This condition can lead to a raw, sore, or scratchy throat. Postnasal drip may be caused by weather changes, a medicine, spicy foods, allergies, or more.

Mouth breathing: A recurring or persistent sore throat may be caused by chronically breathing through the mouth, especially during sleep. Mouth breathing is often the result of a nasal obstruction that prevents breathing properly through your nose.

Acid reflux: Heartburn, technically called acid reflux, occurs when the lower esophagus is unable to close tightly allowing stomach contents to come back up, resulting in a burning sensation. Sometimes acid reflux can lead to a sore throat.

Tonsillitis: If you’re experiencing a sore throat that won’t go away it’s possible you have an infection like tonsillitis. Tonsillitis can be caused by bacterial infections or viruses. Tonsillitis requires prescription antibiotics for treatment.

Environmental pollution: If you live in a large city, it’s possible your persistent sore throat may be caused by exposure to smog, which is a combination of airborne pollutants. Smog can also cause a dry cough, worsening asthma, and difficulty breathing.

Tonsil abscess: An abscess on the tonsils is a serious bacterial infection that can cause a persistent, severe sore throat. If tonsillitis is not treated properly it can lead to a tonsil abscess. An abscess is when a pus-filled pocket forms near one of the tonsils because infection has spread to the surrounding tissue. Abscess infections usually cause additional symptoms, such as pain and fever.

When to See a Doctor

If you have a sore throat that has lasted longer than a few days (more than 2 or 3), you should consider contacting your physician for an examination. Once the cause of the sore throat is determined, it can usually be easily treated. However, you should seek out emergency care immediately if you are also experiencing severe pain that impairs your ability to eat, talk, or sleep, a high fever (over 101˚F), severe pain on one side of your throat, and difficulty turning your head.

Is a Sore Throat a Symptom of the Coronavirus