Strep throat causes nearly 40 percent of sore throat cases in children

Is It a Sore Throat Or Something Else

Is It a Sore Throat Or Something Else

Common Sore Throat or Something Else?

Sore throat indicator
Sore throat, Cold symptoms, Flu in adults children and infants

Sore Throat definition : called also ( Pharyngitis ) A condition in which your throat is red and feels painful, especially when you swallow

Sore throat is usually caused by a viral infection or a group A streptococcus, it also could be a bacterial condition or something else. Only your health care provider can tell you more. But you can look for a few signs on your own.

Sore Throat: Treatment, Causes, Diagnosis, Symptoms & More.

Sore Throat: How to Get Rid of Sore Throat

Take a Good Look

lit flashlight on table
Take good look

Grab a flashlight, look in the mirror, and say “Ah” You could find some important clues. You may see white dots or patches in the back of the throat.

Your tonsils the bumps on either side at the back of your throat, might be red and swollen, too.

These could be signs of bacterial infection like strep throat or a viral infection like oral herpes or mononucleosis.

They also might be something else, like tonsil stones, which are painful Calcium deposits on throat.

Do You Feel with Cold Symptoms?

man with cold holding tissue to nose
Cold symptoms are different in people because of severity, actions and reactions opposed from Immunity systems

If you have a cough and runny nose along with your sore throat, that could be good news.

You may feel bad, but you’re less likely to have a serious infection. You probably just have a common cold virus.

do you feel feverish?

mature man looking at thermometer
Fever Symptoms, Fever Scales And different measures for Fever in Different Ages

The most common symptoms associated with a fever are feeling hot or flushed, chills, body aches, sweating, dehydration, and weakness.

If you‘re experiencing one or more of these symptoms, and you feel warm to the touch, it’s likely that you have a fever

But these don’t always raise your temperature so you have to be monitored, if there are other symptoms.

Your Lymph Nodes Swollen?

young woman with sore throat
Lymphoma Lymph nodes swallowing during Flu

Swollen lymph nodes usually occur as a result of infection from bacteria or viruses.

Rarely your lymph nodes, also called lymph glands, play a vital role in your body’s ability to fight off infection

You might feel them under your jaw or on either side of your neck.

But it doesn’t always mean anything serious. Even the common cold can cause swollen lymph nodes.

Difficulty in swallowing called Dysphagia

young woman doesnt feel hungry
Difficulty in swallowing, Loss of taste and Appetite suppression

When a cold causes your sore throat, it can be plenty painful, but it usually goes away after a couple of days.

Bacterial infections, like strep throat, tend to cause more severe pain that doesn’t get better.

Decreased appetite, Difficulty swallowing, Dry mouth and Frequent chewing

Sometimes, it can cause nausea, headaches, or stomach pain as well.

Is There a Rash?

Anything from colds to measles can cause a viral rash.
A rash is not a common symptom of the flu, but it can sometimes occur. Learn more about a flu rash and other possible causes of a rash here.

 It often starts with several days of sore throat, runny nose or cough, and a high fever.

rash of reddish flat or raised spots often follows

The most minor of these is strep throat, but they also include more serious ones, like scarlet fever, bacteremia (bacteria in the blood), and toxic shock syndrome.

It must be treated by a doctor and its mostly treated with antibiotics.

Viral | Bacterial Infection

yellow mucus can be a sign of a bacterial infection
bacteria can infect the ears or sinuses during this viral infection — this is known as a secondary bacterial infection

They may feel the same, but a common sore throat and bacterial infections are very different.

Most sore throats are caused by viruses, like the cold virus.

No medication will cure a cold virus — you have to let your body heal on its own.

But antibiotics can fight a bacterial infection, such as strep, and stop it from spreading.

When Antibiotics Aren’t Needed

Antibiotics are only needed for treating infections caused by bacteria, but even some bacterial infections get better without antibioticsAntibiotics aren’t needed for many sinus infections and some ear infections.


Colds | Antibiotics: Just Say No for all antibiotics


If you have a sore throat from a cold, antibiotics won’t help at all. They only help against bacteria not viruses.

Taking antibiotics when you don’t really need them has a risk, too.

Too much exposure to antibiotics can turn regular bacteria into “super bugs” that don’t respond to treatment.

Coughing that starts out dry is often the first sign of acute bronchitis.
Small amounts of white mucus may be coughed up if the bronchitis is viral
If the color of the mucus changes to green or yellow, it may be a sign that a bacterial infection has also set in.

Rapid Strep Test (RST)

doctor examining womans throat

To figure out if strep — the most common bacterial throat infection is causing your sore throat, your doctor may use a rapid strep test

Rapid antigen detection Test (RADT) that is started widely used in clinics to assist in the diagnosis of bacterial pharyngitis

Results are ready in 5 to 10 minutes, but the test doesn’t pick up all cases of strep.

If yours is negative, your doctor may send a throat culture to the lab to be sure. That’s more thorough, but you won’t get the results for a few days.

Antibiotics for Strep


They may either kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria.
Antibiotics fight bacterial infections either by killing bacteria or slowing and suspending its growth.

If you do have a positive strep test, your doctor will give you oral antibiotics.

You’ll probably feel better in a day or two, but don’t stop taking the medication till finishing the whole course, which is usually 7-10 days.

If you stop too soon, some of the bacteria could survive and get you sick again.

You’ll still be contagious up to 24 hours after you start antibiotics, so wash your hands often to protect people around you.

The old rule of thumb was to replace your toothbrush after two or three days, but before finishing your antibiotics

Home Remedies to deal with Sore Throats


Gargle often with warm salt water if you are age 8 or older
Warm liquids, caffeine-free tea or warm water with honey and cold treats such as ice pops can soothe a sore throat. Gargle with saltwater. A saltwater gargle of 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon (1.25 to 2.50 ml) to (120 to 240 ml) of warm water can help soothe a sore throat.

No matter the reason for your sore throat, simple home remedies can make you feel better.

One thing that might work is a saltwater gargle.

Just mix half a teaspoon of salt into a glass of water, then gargle, and spit it out.

It can keep your throat moist, help with swelling, and ease that raw, scratchy feeling.

Humidifier | Vaporizer for Cold

man breathing steam

Steam from a humidifier or vaporizer can keep your scratchy throat moist and cut down on pain.

You can also lean over a sink with hot running water.

A cool-mist humidifier or steam vaporizer may help equally with cold and flu congestion. Why?

The benefit comes from the humidity reaching irritated nasal passages and lungs.

Both types of machines add moisture to the air and can achieve the same levels of humidity, just in different ways.

At home, Drape a towel over your head to trap the steam, and breathe deeply. Try this for up to 10 minutes several times a day.

Warm Compress

woman with hot water bottle

Try a warm water bottle or heating pad  outside of your throat.

Or wet a towel with hot water to make your own warm compress.

It can help soothe tender lymph nodes in your neck.

Using a hot compress using a clean towel soaked with warmhot water, may help reduce the inflammation, but won’t shorten the healing process.

It can be applied over the sores in an interval of 20 minutes.

Soothing Foods

woman eating ice cream

If you need an excuse to eat ice cream, a sore throat is a great one. The cold has a numbing effect, and the creamy texture makes it easy to swallow.

Other soothing foods include milkshakes, gelatin, and hot soup.

Some foods you may want to eat are:
  • warm, cooked pasta, including macaroni and cheese.
  • warm oatmeal, cooked cereal, or grits.
  • gelatin desserts.
  • plain yogurts or yogurts with pureed fruits.
  • cooked vegetables.
  • fruit or vegetable smoothies.
  • mashed potatoes.
  • broth and cream-based soups.

If your sore throat is especially painful, stay away from crunchy or spicy foods.


man drinking water on bed

If you have a fever and don’t drink enough fluids because it hurts to swallow it can make you dehydrated.

Choose drinks that are easy on your throat: Water and warm tea ‘free of Caffeine’ are good choices.

The drier your throat gets, the worse it feels. Drink plenty of water or eat a piece of hard candy to get more saliva

Stay away from citrus drinks, though, because they may sting your sore throat.

Pain Relievers

woman taking pill close up

Over the counter (OTC) medicines like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help dull the pain of a sore throat.

But be careful if you’re taking something for a cold or the flu some of those medications already include a painkiller.

You don’t want to take a double dose.

Sore Throat Lozenges | Sprays

throat lozenges close up

You can soothe a painful sore throat with a numbing spray or lozenge. (But don’t give lozenges to small children.)

Lozenges targeted intense cooling powerful numbing treatment to vaporize your sore throat pain right where you need it.

Carry a travel-size throat spray in your purse or briefcase for relief on the go. Sucking on ice chips can also bring some relief.


woman using nasal spray

If you have a cold and fluid draining from your nose irritates your throat you could try a decongestant nasal spray or oral decongestant.

pseudo-ephedrine (Sudafed) can help reduce congestion which eliminate postnasal drip.

Newer, non drowsy antihistamines like loratadine, pseudo-ephedrine (Claritine) can work to get rid of postnasal drip.

However, these are more effective after you take them for several days.

They help dry up postnasal drip and give your throat some relief.

Just follow the directions and don’t take them longer than recommended.

If you use any other medications or id you have a high blood pressure or any heart problems, check with your doctor first.

Lingering (Lasting for a Long Time Or Slow to End) Sore Throat

doctor using tongue depressor with patient

Commonly lasting only a few days, or chronic, lingering on until their underlying cause is addressed.

Most sore throats are the result of common viruses and resolve on their own within 3 to 10 days.

Sore throats caused by a bacterial infection or allergies may last longer

If it lasts longer than a week or gets worse, check with your doctor, even if you had a negative strep test.

A throat swab may miss bacteria, so you may need another one.

A sore throat that doesn’t go away could also be a sign of acid reflux, mononucleosis, or another condition.



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