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Causes of Sore Throat

This page looks at the causes of sore throat, as well as sore throat symptoms, including strep throat symptoms.

A sore throat, medically known as pharyngitis, is very often one of the first signs that we are getting sick.

Most sore throats are caused by viruses that cause colds and influenza. In many cases, a sore throat that is caused by a virus soon goes away on its own.

Less often, sore throats are caused by bacterial infections that require medical care or treatment with antibiotics.

Let's look more closely at the common causes of sore throat. (Visit Sore Throat Home Remedies for effective natural cures for sore throat.)

Causes of Sore Throat - Viruses

The most common illnesses caused by viruses that result in a sore throat include:
  • The common cold, which is the most common type of viral infection
  • Influenza
  • Laryngitis (Infection of the voice box)
  • Mononucleosis (mono, aka "the kissing disease", which is a viral infection that tends to cause a persistent sore throat)
Other possible viral illnesses that can cause a sore throat include:
  • Measles
  • Chickenpox
  • Croup

Causes of Sore Throat - Bacteria

Bacteria can also cause sore throat. Common bacterial infections that can cause a sore throat include:
  • Strep throat, which usually does not occur with congestion or a cough.
  • Tonsillitis (Inflammation or infection of the tonsils) and sometimes the adenoids (adenoiditis)
  • Epiglottitis (Inflammation of the epiglottis)
  • In rare cases, a sexually transmitted disease, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia


Other Causes of Sore Throat

Other possible causes of sore throat include:
  • Allergies: Pet dander, molds and pollens trigger allergic reactions such as red, swollen eyes and a runny nose. These allergens can also cause a sore throat. Also, nasal congestion due to allergies (or colds) may cause you to breathe through your mouth. This can also result in a sore throat.
  • Pollution and Irritants: Air pollution, smoking, and second-hand smoke can cause chronic sore throat. Dry air also causes sore throat. Nasal drainage down the back of the throat can also irritate the throat causing soreness.
  • Acid Reflux: Stomach acid that backs up into the throat, caused by such conditions as hiatal hernias, can cause sore throat in addition to symptoms like heartburn. Sore throat caused by acid reflux does not occur with other symptoms of a viral illness, and it tends to be persistent, rather than lasting just a few days.
  • Muscle Strain: Excessive strain on your throat muscles by yelling and shouting can result in a sore throat. Your voice may also be hoarse (a symptom of laryngitis).
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: CFS is a condition that causes extreme tiredness. It can also cause sore throat.
  • HIV Infection: HIV-positive people sometimes develop a chronic sore throat that is the result of a secondary infection such as oral thrush.
  • Injuries: An injury to the back of the throat, such as a cut or puncture from falling with a pointed object in the mouth, may result in a sore throat.


Sore Throat and Strep Throat Symptoms

Sore throat symptoms include:
  • A dry, scratchy, sometimes swollen throat
  • Soreness when swallowing, or talking
Common strep throat symptoms include:
  • A sudden severe sore throat
  • Pain and difficulty swallowing
  • Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus
  • Tiny white or yellow spots on the back of a bright red throat
  • Swollen, tender lymph nodes (in the neck)
You may also develop:
  • A headache
  • Stomach pain
Less common strep throat symptoms include:
  • A red skin rash
  • Vomiting (especially in younger children)
  • Achy body
  • Appetite loss

Related Topics

Sore Throat Home Remedies
Strep throat Signs and Symptoms
Natural Home Remedies for Colds
Natural Flu Remedies
Natural Laryngitis Treatment

References ( (

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