A sore throat can commonly accompany a cold or the flu, but it can also be a sign of strep throat. At EMC Express Care in North Richland Hills, Texas, Luke Kehres, MD, and the experienced team evaluate your sore throat to determine if you have an infection or a problem with the tonsils. Call or walk in to be seen today for a severe sore throat or one that just won’t heal.
A sore throat can show up as pain, scratchiness, or irritation in the throat that can make swallowing uncomfortable.
Many factors cause a sore throat, including viral infections, like a cold or the flu, and bacterial infections, notably Streptococcus (strep throat). Other causes include allergies, dry air, smoking, and environmental irritants.
Based solely on symptoms, you usually can’t tell if you have a viral or bacterial sore throat. But, you may notice a pattern as to how the sore throat develops.
A viral sore throat usually occurs alongside symptoms like sneezing, coughing, runny nose, and a low-grade fever. Bacterial sore throats, particularly streptococcal infections, often occur suddenly and severely. You may also have swollen and tender lymph nodes in the neck, headache, and fever.
If you suspect you have a bacterial infection, make an appointment at EMC Express Care to get a proper diagnosis. The team can perform a rapid strep test to tell you if your sore throat is bacterial within just a few minutes. Even if the rapid test comes back negative, but your symptoms strongly suggest strep throat, they’ll send a throat culture to a lab for further analysis.
Viral infections cause most sore throats and will resolve on their own within a week.
However, you should seek medical attention in the following cases:
Also seek medical care if you have recurrent sore throats.
Get plenty of rest to help your body fight off the infection. You’ll also want to stay hydrated by drinking warm liquids, such as herbal tea and water with honey and lemon.
Another home remedy that helps ease inflammation is gargling with a saltwater solution made of ¼-½ teaspoon of salt dissolved in 8 ounces of warm water several times each day.
Over-the-counter pain reducers also help reduce the pain and fever that accompany your sore throat. Lozenges and sprays can provide temporary relief, too.
Call EMC Express Care if you need help with a sore throat, or use this site to make an appointment online.