Many conditions can cause discomfort in the throat, with some being more serious than others. Let’s take a look at a few common causes of sore throat, as well as when to see a doctor.
Sore Throat Symptoms
Depending on the cause of your sore throat, you may experience slightly different sensations, including:
- Scratchy sensation in the throat
- Trouble or pain when swallowing or talking
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck or jaw region
- Swollen or red tonsils
- Sneezing and/or runny nose
Common Sore Throat Causes
While not an exhaustive list, some of the more common causes of strep throat are:
- Strep throat (bacterial infection)
- Upper respiratory viruses like the common cold
- Sinus infection
- Smoking or exposure to cigarette smoke
At Home Remedies to Soothe Your Throat
You can soothe symptoms and reduce the pain from a sore throat in several ways.
- Get plenty of rest
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
- Suck on ice cubes or throat lozenges
- Gargle with saltwater
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. You can also stop by somewhere like O’Neill’s Food Market to pick up soothing liquids and foods like tea, soup and popsicles.
When to See a Doctor
Depending on the cause, getting enough rest and using home treatments may be all you need to get rid of your sore throat. However, several causes require medical treatment to prevent more severe outcomes.
Visit your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- A severe or persistent sore throat that lasts longer than a week
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- A high fever
- Swelling in the face or neck
- Hoarseness that has gone on for over two weeks
- Blood in saliva or mucus
- A lump in the neck
At your appointment, your doctor will examine your throat and likely perform a throat swab for bacteria. Additional testing may be required depending on your accompanying symptoms. If your sore throat is caused by a bacterial infection, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics.
If you are concerned about your symptoms, it’s always wise to make an appointment with your doctor sooner rather than later to ensure the best possible outcome as well as peace of mind.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our providers, call Pinnacle ENT today.