A sore throat is swelling and inflammation in the throat. Common types are:
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Many things can cause a sore throat. They may be:
Sore throats are more common children, teens, or people aged 65 years and older. Things that raise the risk are:
Other symptoms may occur with the sore throat. They may be:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam may be done. This involves looking at the mouth, throat, nose, ears, and lymph nodes in the neck.
Tests may include:
Treatment depends on the cause of the sore throat. Options may be:
To reduce the risk of a sore throat:
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Canadian Society of Otolaryngology
Pharyngitis - Approach to the Patient. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/approach-to/pharyngitis-approach-to-the-patient-25. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Sore throat. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/condition/sore-throat. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Sore throat. Patient website. Available at: https://patient.info/health/sore-throat-leaflet. Accessed January 29, 2021.
The difference between a sore throat, strep and tonsillitis. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/ear-nose-throat/Pages/The-Difference-Between-a-Sore-Throat-Strep-and-Tonsillitis.aspx. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Throat problems. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/symptom/throat-problems. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Vazquez MN, Sanders JE. Diagnosis and management of group A streptococcal pharyngitis and associated complications. Pediatr Emerg Med Pract. 2017;14(12):1-20
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Shawna Grubb, RN Last Updated: 2/23/2021