What is a sore throat?

A sore throat is when your throat is scratchy, painful, or dry. Sore throats are very common and cause about 2% of all primary care visits. Usually, sore throats go away after a couple of days and aren’t any cause for concern, but if your throat is particularly painful or lasts for longer than 3-10 days, you should consult a doctor to find the cause.

 

When should you see a doctor for a sore throat?

Sore throats typically resolve by themselves after a few days. But you may need to see a doctor if

  • You have a fever of at least 101 F or 38.4 C
  • If your throat pain is severe within the first two days or doesn’t improve within 5 to 7 days.

 

When should you call 911 or find medical help?

If you’re experiencing:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Drooling because you cannot swallow your saliva
  • Swelling of the neck or tongue
  • Cannot move your neck
  • Have trouble opening your mouth

You should seek medical attention, usually by calling 911 or going to the nearest ER.

 

What are some common causes of a sore throat?

  • Viral infections
  • Bacterial infections
  • Covid-19 infections
  • Allergies
  • Smoking or being exposed to secondhand smoke

Most sore throats are caused by viral infections and usually resolve on their own, but if your sore throat lasts for longer than the usual 3-10 days or is very severe, you should seek help from your primary care physician.

 

When do I need antibiotics?

Most people get better without antibiotics. If a virus caused your sore throat, it gets better by itself. It doesn’t get better, you need to get testing for bacterial causes like streptococcus. Most people with strep throat still get better without antibiotics, but antibiotics prevent future problems caused by strep, reduce symptoms, and prevent the spread to others.

 

When can I go back to work/school after being diagnosed with strep throat?

You have to wait 1 day after starting antibiotics, this will less likely spread the infection to others.

 

How do I prevent a sore throat?

The best way to prevent the spread of infection is to wash your hands often with soap and water.

 

What are some ways to help relieve my sore throat?

Some ways to help relieve a sore throat are:

  • Gargling with warm salt water
  • Sucking on things that will keep your throat cold like ice or popsicles
  • Drinking honey
  • Drinking plenty of warm beverages

 

If you have any questions, you should talk to your primary care physician. If you’re looking for one in the Plano, Frisco, or Irving area, feel free to contact us at 214-666-6259 or the contact us tab above.

Author Jai Sammpath

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