What is a Sore Throat?

A sore throat can include pain, scratchiness or irrational of the throat, that often worsens when you swallow. The most common cause of a sore throat is pharyngitis, or a viral infection such as the cold or flu. Strep throat (streptococcal infection), and bacterial infections can also be the cause of a sore throat.

Symptoms of a sore throat can vary depending on the cause. However, general signs and symptoms include:

  • Painful or scratchy throat
  • Pain that worsens with swallowing
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Sore, swollen neck glands
  • Swollen, red tonsils
  • White patches on the tonsils
  • Hoarse voice

A sore throat that is caused by a viral infection does not require medical treatment, however, over-the-counter pain medications can help to reduce symptoms. Sore throats that are caused by a bacterial infection will require antibiotics.

Strep Throat

Strep throat is caused by a bacterial infection (streptococcus pyogenes) that can cause a painful or scratchy sensation in the throat. Throat pain will usually come on quickly, and the tonsils may appear swollen, with white patches or streaks of pus. Fever, headache, rash, nausea, and body aches may also occur.

Strep throat is highly contagious, and can spread through airborne droplets with someone coughs, sneezes, or talks. It can also be spread through shared foods and drinks, or through touching infected surfaces. Children are often at a higher risk for strep throat than adults.

Medications are needed to cure strep throat and relieve symptoms. Antibiotics are often prescribed to treat strep throat. When taken within 48 hours of the onset of the illness, antibiotics can reduce the severity of symptoms, as well as reduce the risk of complications. Patients should begin to feel better after a day or two of antibiotic use.

If you are experiencing a sore throat, visit Springfield Urgent Care for fast, professional care with no appointment needed.

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