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Sore Throat

What is it?

A sore throat often makes it painful to swallow. A sore throat can also feel dry and scratchy. A sore throat is a frequent symptom of the common cold or other acute respiratory tract infections. In some cases, a lab test will need to be done to determine if you or your child needs antibiotics.

What causes it?

  • Most sore throats are caused by viruses, like ones that cause a cold or the flu

  • Some sore throats, like strep throat, are caused by bacteria; strep throat is caused by Group A streptococcus

  • Other causes include:

    • Allergies

    • Dry air

    • Pollution (airborne chemicals or irritants)

    • Smoking or exposure to second hand smoke


Signs and Symptoms of a Viral Infection Accompanied by a Sore Throat

  • Sneezing
  • Cough
  • Watery eyes
  • Mild headache
  • Mild body aches
  • Runny nose
  • Low-grade fever (less than 102°F)

Preventing a Sore Throat

  • Practice good hand hygiene
  • Avoid close contact with people who have colds or other upper respiratory infections
  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid exposure to second hand smoke and do not expose children to second hand smoke

How to Feel Better

Rest, over-the-counter medicines and other self-care methods may help you feel better