COLD AND FLU BASICS
What is a Sore Throat?
A sore throat is pain, scratchiness, or irritation of the throat that often feels worse when you swallow. In technical terms, it’s an inflammation of the pharynx and surrounding area, and is commonly referred to by healthcare providers as “pharyngitis.”
What causes sore throat pain?
Sore throat pain is most often caused by a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu. These usually are overrun by your immune system and resolve on their own. However, a less common but more serious type of sore throat pain caused by bacteria is called strep throat. This will require seeing a healthcare professional and treatment involving antibiotics.
What are the symptoms of a sore throat?
Symptoms of a sore throat can vary, depending on the cause. Signs and symptoms might include:
- Pain or a feeling of scratchiness in the throat
- Pain that gets worse with swallowing or drinking
- Difficulty swallowing
- Sore, swollen glands in your neck or jaw
- Swollen, red tonsils
- Hoarse or muffled voice
How do you treat sore throat pain?
Sore throat pain caused by a viral infection usually lasts about 5-7 days and should go away on its own. Get plenty of rest and make sure to drink plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration. Gargling with salt water or drinking warm liquids like tea or broth may also help ease any throat pain.