The normal progression of a sore throat tends to start with a viral infection like the cold or flu. Chances are, your symptoms resolve themselves in about a week to 10 days. Physicians refer to this as acute pharyngitis.
Sometimes, though, your sore throat persists longer than 10 days, a condition called chronic pharyngitis. While the symptoms are similar, the condition's progression isn’t, and it could come back again without another respiratory infection driving it.
At EMC Express Care, we take sore throats seriously, regardless of their origin. Persistent symptoms could suggest causes other than viral or bacterial infections, some of which can be serious. Contact us whenever you have severe sore throat pain or symptoms that show no improvement after 10 days.
Sore throat symptoms are similar between acute and chronic cases, with the distinction between the two being the duration. Generally, with a viral infection, you may feel a sore throat coming on ahead of other symptoms, and it peaks as you feel the full respiratory effects. Sore throat symptoms then typically start to improve while the rest of the infection runs its course.
Chronic sore throat likely won’t follow this pattern. If you develop no respiratory symptoms and the sore throat comes on suddenly, you might have strep throat. This bacterial infection usually features symptoms that are more intense than viral cases. Your body can sometimes fight off strep throat, but since there are potentially dangerous complications, it’s best to seek treatment as soon as you recognize you’re not getting a cold.
Other signs and symptoms of chronic pharyngitis include:
Fever, coughing, or headaches may or may not accompany a chronic sore throat.
Viral and bacterial infections most frequently cause sore throats, but some other conditions and factors can cause or contribute to them, including:
In rare cases, throat cancer may be responsible for your sore throat symptoms, which may be accompanied by bleeding, lumps in your neck, or breathing difficulties.
Home care for your sore throat includes drinking plenty of water, using over-the-counter pain relievers, gargling with salt water several times daily, and avoiding smoking for the duration of your illness.
If these efforts provide little or no relief, it’s time to visit us for medical attention. Untreated chronic sore throat can have potentially serious complications. We can test for strep throat bacteria during an exam, helping us determine the underlying cause of your condition.
EMC Express Care is open seven days a week from 10am to 8pm. Call us at 817-503-8800 to schedule your visit today.