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Sore Throats

What causes sore throats

Sore throats can be caused by viral or bacterial infections. Most sore throats are caused by viruses and do not lead to serious problems. The only type of sore throat that will cause serious problems is caused by a bacterium called strep. Untreated, strep throat can lead to rheumatic fever and heart disease a few weeks after the sore throat gets better.

How long should my throat be sore?

Viral and antibiotic sore throats get better by themselves within seven (7) days. Bacterial infections (strep) will get better sooner if you are taking an antibiotic.

What if I have strep throat?

An antibiotic will be prescribed for you. This will prevent rheumatic fever and heart disease if taken, as directed, no later than one (1) week after the sore throat appeared. If a close contact person has a sore throat, they should be medically evaluated.

What can I do to help throat pain?

  1. Increase your overall fluid intake. Very warm drinks (like tea with honey) are better than cold drinks.  Cold drinks or ice pops will help your throat feel better too but “heat treats”.
     
  2. Salt water gargles (1/4 teaspoon salt / glass warm water) every hour helps throat discomfort.
    Throat lozenges, hard candy, and throat sprays (like Chloraseptic) may also help.
     
  3. Tylenol, or Ibuprofen may help throat and general discomfort.


What problems should concern me?

  1. If you are not better in a week;
     
  2. If you are getting worse or having trouble swallowing; or
     
  3. Any other problem that may worry you.

How long should my throat be sore?

Viral sore throats usually get better by themselves within seven (7) days. A viral sore throat with mono will last longer. Bacterial infections (strep) will get better sooner if you are taking an antibiotic and you must complete the full prescription.