John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
- Sore throat facts
- What causes a sore throat?
- What are the symptoms of a sore throat?
- How long should a sore throat last?
- What are home remedies for a sore throat?
- What is strep throat and why is it different?
- When should I seek medical care for a sore throat?
- What is the treatment for sore throat?
- What if I have multiple recurrent episodes of strep throat?
- What can I do if I have a sore throat and am pregnant?
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Sore throat facts
- Most sore throats are caused by viruses or mechanical causes (such as mouth breathing) and can be treated successfully at home.
- Sore throat symptoms include pain, burning or scratching sensations at the back of the throat, pain when swallowing, and tenderness in the neck. Sore throat symptoms may be accompanied by coughing, sneezing, fever, and swollen lymph nodes.
- Home remedies for sore throat include saltwater gargles, sprays, lozenges and humidifiers. Do not give lozenges to young children as they are a choking hazard.
- Any sore throat that has a rapid onset and is associated with a fever or tenderness of the front of the neck may be serious and should be seen by a doctor.
- Any sore throat that causes a person to have difficulty swallowing (not just pain with swallowing) or breathing should be seen by a health care professional.
- Seek medical care immediately for a sore throat if the person is unable to take his or her medications, has palpitations, or are lightheaded, or the tongue or lips swell up.
- Any sore throat that lasts for more than a week should be evaluated by a health care professional.
- If you are pregnant and your sore throat symptoms are severe or do not resolve in three days, seek medical attention.
What causes a sore throat?
A sore throat can have many causes including:
- Common viruses, including the viruses that cause mononucleosis (mono) and the flu. Some viruses can also produce blisters in the mouth and throat ("aphthous stomatitis").
- Infection of the tonsils or adenoids.
- Breathing through the mouth or smoking can produce throat dryness and soreness.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) while lying down or sleeping.
- Sinus drainage (post nasal drip) from allergic or chronic sinusitis.
- Bacterial infections. The two most common bacteria to cause a sore throat are Streptococcus (which causes strep throat) and Arcanobacterium haemolyticum. Arcanobacterium causes sore throats mainly in young adults and is sometimes associated with a fine red rash.
- Sore throat appearing after treatment with antibiotics, chemotherapy, or other immune-compromising medications may be due to the yeast Candida, commonly known as "thrush."
- A sore throat lasting for more than two weeks can be a sign of a serious illness, such as throat cancer or AIDS.
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