Sore throats can be painful and annoying. Fortunately, most sore throats are caused by a minor illness and go away without medical treatment.
Several conditions can cause a sore throat.
Sore throats may be caused by a viral illness, such as:
A bacterial infection may also cause a sore throat. This can occur from:
Irritants and injuries
A sore throat that lasts longer than a week is often caused by irritants or an injuries, such as:
Treatment for a sore throat depends on the cause. You may be able to use home treatment to obtain relief.
Because viral illnesses are the most common cause of a sore throat, it is important not to use antibiotics to treat them. Antibiotics do not alter the course of viral infections. Unnecessary use of an antibiotic exposes you to the risks of an allergic reaction and antibiotic side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, and yeast infections. Antibiotics also may kill beneficial bacteria and encourage the development of dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria. For sore throats caused by strep, treatment with antibiotics may be needed.
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.
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