Sore Throat (cont.)
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.
In this Article
- 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?
- Pictures of The Anatomy of a Sore Throat - Slideshow
- Pictures of Natural Cold & Flu Remedies - Slideshow
- Pictures of The Common Cold - Slideshow
What are the symptoms of a sore throat?
Symptoms of sore throat usually include a painful burning or scratching sensation in the back of the throat, pain when swallowing, and sometimes tenderness in the neck.
Other symptoms that may accompany a sore throat include:
- Hoarseness or laryngitis
- Runny nose
- Mild fever
- General fatigue
- Swollen lymph nodes (glands) in the neck
- Bad breath (halitosis)
How long should a sore throat last?
A sore throat, depending on the cause, should last for no longer 7 to 10 days. If sore throat symptoms last for more than 10 days, see a doctor to diagnose the cause and start treatment.
What are home remedies for a sore throat?
Generally, sore throats just run their course and resolve on their own (the exception, strep throat, will be addressed further.)
- Home remedies include salt water gargles, herbal teas, hard candies, sprays (for example, Chloraseptic) and lozenges, which can provide temporary pain relief. Caution: Lozenges and hard candy are a choking hazard for children. Avoid use in young children.
- A humidifier may be helpful in relieving symptoms, especially in sore throats caused by mouth breathing dry air.
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help control the pain.
- For adults, if the nose is plugged, nasal sprays such as Afrin may be used for two to three days to prevent mouth breathing. It is not recommended to use these products for more than a couple of days; the nasal passages may become dependent on them and worsen the problem.
- Other decongestant products, such as those containing pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Mucinex D, Claritin D), may be helpful. If the affected person has health problems such as heart disease, glaucoma, or high blood pressure, contact a health care professional before using these products.
Viewers share their comments
- Submit »
- Submit »
Find out what women really need.