Get E-Book on COVID-19

ENT health Data Verified

Sore Throat

Published on May 30, 2019 and last reviewed on Oct 10, 2019   -  4 min read



When your throat hurts or feels itchy or scratchy, it is called a sore throat or pharyngitis. A viral infection like cold and flu is the most common cause of a sore throat.

 Sore Throat

What Is a Sore Throat?

When your throat hurts or feels itchy or scratchy, it is called a sore throat or pharyngitis. You may also feel slight discomfort or burning sensation, which worsens on swallowing. A viral infection like cold and flu is the most common cause of a sore throat. As a virus causes it, it resolves on its own. The other less common type of sore throat caused by the bacteria Streptococcus is called strep throat. Strep throat needs treatment with antibiotics.

What Are the Symptoms of a Sore Throat?

Depending on the cause, the symptoms seen during a sore throat are:

What Are the Other Signs and Symptoms Seen Along with a Sore Throat?

Some of the signs and symptoms that are accompanied by a sore throat are:

What Causes a Sore Throat?

The most common causes of sore throats are:

What Are the Home Remedies for a Sore Throat?

Most viral sore throats can be treated at home with the help of some natural remedies and plenty of rest, which gives the body time to heal itself. Some home remedies are:

When to Visit a Doctor for a Sore Throat?

Usually, sore throats that result from a viral infection gets better in a week with home remedies. But, in the following conditions, get immediate medical attention:

If you are suffering from the above symptoms, consult an ENT-otolaryngologist at the earliest.

How Is a Sore Throat Diagnosed?

The doctor might check the back of the throat for redness, swelling, and white spots, as they are signs of tonsillitis. To rule out strep throat, the doctor might get a throat culture and perform a rapid strep test.

How Is a Sore Throat Treated?

To provide symptomatic relief, the doctor might suggest you take Paracetamol for fever, Ibuprofen for pain, and cough syrup to treat cough. They might also suggest taking throat spray containing antiseptic and cooling agents to soothe the throat.

For strep throat, antibiotics are prescribed to prevent complications like pneumonia, bronchitis, and rheumatic fever.

And to treat GERD, antacids, H2 blockers, and proton pump inhibitors are used.

Generally, most people feel better in a week with rest, warm liquids, saltwater gargles, and painkillers. But if your symptoms are severe, it is best to consult an ENT specialist online.


This is a sponsored Ad. icliniq or icliniq doctors do not endorse the content in the Ad.

Frequently Asked Questions


How long does a sore throat last?

The most common cause of sore throat may be a parasitic infection. It might usually last for a few days. If it is caused by a viral infection, it may last for a week. Those which are caused by bacterial infection might take longer to heal. A few home remedies can treat the sore throat effectively.


What causes a sore throat?

A sore throat can be due to any underlying disease such as cold, flu, bacterial and viral infections. Other well-known causes are overuse of your voice. This is more prevalent in speakers, teachers, and singers. Allergic reactions with smoke or chemicals, injury or any pathological condition might also be the reason.


Is sore throat contagious?

Sore throat is also known as pharyngitis. It is caused by viruses that are contagious most of the time when the symptoms are actually present. When the symptoms get cured, it means that the person is no longer contagious. However, the person may still be prone to other types of pharyngitis.


What is the difference between viral and bacterial throat infection?

In a viral infection, the tonsils may be swollen and red. It is easily treatable at home using saltwater gargle. In a bacterial infection, white spots or lesions may be seen on the tongue. The uvula may be swollen in case of bacterial infection. The bacterial infection may be seen only in a few cases and requires help from the doctor.


Why does sore throat get worsen at night?

If there is dry air in your home, there are chances your nasal passages and throat could become very dry during the night. When you wake up, you may experience a scratchy or sore throat. The indoor air can become too dry during the winter months. There are chances that when you run the heating system it might dry out more further.


Can a sore throat last for more than 3 weeks?

If a sore throat is lasting for more than longer than ten days, it is good to consult a doctor. Most of the viral infection is known to cure very soon. Sore throat is very easy to diagnose. It can be easily treated also. Severe throat pain might be a sign of throat cancer.


How to get cured of a sore throat?

- Gargle with salt water two times a day.
- Mix honey or turmeric in warm milk. Drink this combination before bed.
- Stay hydrated all the time. Lime juice will help. Buttermilk is another substitute.
- Use a humidifier.
- Take a steam shower two times a day.
- If you want instant relief, alow the steam air to enter your nostrils.
- Drinking hot tea, soup or coffee can provide temporary relief.


What are the foods to be avoided for a sore throat?

Any cold food item should be avoided. Do not consume cold drinks, juices, beverages, sweets, chocolates, cocoa products, and cold water. All these foods can cause further irritation and pain in the throat.

Last reviewed at:
10 Oct 2019  -  4 min read


Dr. Nilotpal Dutta

Dr. Nilotpal Dutta


Consult by PhoneConsult by Phone Video ChatVideo Chat


Comprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Related Questions & Answers

I have sore throat and weight loss. Do I need to test again for STD?

Query: Hello doctor,I had a test for STD and the results came negative for all tests. I received an oral sex from a spa therapist eight weeks ago. I tested for STD at six weeks. But I have a sore throat for one month and there is weight loss. Today I could see tiny rashes on my genitals. I tested again for...  Read Full »

I have ear pain, head pain, clogged nose and itchy throat. How to manage it?

Query: Hi doctor, I have episodes of bad sinuses every year. Last year, I had hay fever with an extreme blocked nose. I went to my GP, and he gave me sinus injection. I got better after treating it. The doctor prescribed Allerway 5, and Spersallerg eye drops for me. This year, my condition seems to be poo...  Read Full »

I have sore throat from two years. Please advise.

Query: Hello doctor,I have a bad case of sore throat. It has been two years since I have a sore throat. I regularly gargle with hot water or diluted Betadine gargles (Povidone-iodine solution ), but there is no effect. Rather, it has gotten worse.  Read Full »

Popular Articles Most Popular Articles

Do you have a question on ?

Ask a Doctor Online

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: All health articles published on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek the advice from your physician or other qualified health-care providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website.