Understanding a Sore Throat
A sore throat is a symptom that can indicate a range of illnesses and conditions. Knowing the cause of the irritation can help with determining the best options for treatment and help you feel better sooner.
Common Causes of Sore Throat
Most sore throats occur with the onset of an upper respiratory infection, like a cold or the flu. But sometimes the culprit is strep throat, a bacterial infection that can be diagnosed by a rapid test or throat culture. Common causes include:
- Viral Infections, like cold, flu, or COVID-19
- Bacterial Infections like strep throat
- Postnasal Drip
- Dry air
- Inhaling irritants (like smoke, pollutants, or chemicals)
- Overuse of voice, resulting in vocal strain
Is an Irritated Throat a Sign of COVID-19?
Yes, a sore throat can be a sign of the COVID-19 virus. This is because COVID-19 is an upper-respiratory infection, meaning that a sore throat can occur. However, when someone tests positive for COVID, a sore throat is usually accompanied by other symptoms. If the culprit is COVID, sore throats are usually mild and do not last long. If you think your sore throat could be the result of COVID-19, get tested to know for sure.
Symptoms of a Sore Throat
Common symptoms can include:
- Dry, scratchy, painful sensation at the back of your throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Pain that gets worse when speaking or swallowing
- Hoarse voice
- Swollen tonsils
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Red throat and/or tonsils
Symptoms of Strep Throat
Strep throat is caused by bacteria (streptococcus A). It is most common in children 5-15 years old, though anyone can get it. In addition to the above, other symptoms may include:
- High fever
- Red or white spots in the back of the throat
- Nasal Congestion/runny nose
- Abdominal Pain, nausea, or vomiting
How to Prevent a Sore Throat
Take care of yourself by:
- Avoiding infection – washing your hands, and avoiding close contact with sick individuals
- Treating an illness at the first signs of symptoms
- Avoid straining your voice
- Avoid areas with poor air quality or allergens
- Use a cool-mist humidifier in your bedroom to avoid breathing dry air
Because pain in your throat is a symptom of something going on in your body, the most important step in treatment is determining why your throat is sore and caring for the cause. For example, if your irritation is due to a cold, then treating your cold may help.
That being said, there are many home remedies to help you feel better:
- Hot drinks, like tea or broth
- Cold drinks, like smoothies
- Resting your voice and throat
- Soft foods
- Honey (not suitable for babies under 1 year old)
- Throat lozenges
- Using a cool-mist humidifier
- Gargling saltwater
For strep throat, your clinician may prescribe antibiotics. If so, be sure to complete the entire prescription. You may actually feel better before the bacteria have been completely wiped away, and completing the prescription will help to ensure this is not the case. vybe takes great care in prescribing antibiotics and will generally only do so if you have a positive strep test result.
If you’re experiencing a sore throat, stop by your local vybe urgent care and be seen today. We can help to determine the cause of your sore throat and help you feel better.