Are you battling the discomfort of a sore and scratchy throat? Whether it's due to seasonal allergies, a cold, or another underlying condition, the irritation and pain can make even the simplest tasks feel like a challenge. Fortunately, understanding the causes and effective remedies can help soothe your throat and get you back to feeling your best. In this article, we'll explore the common causes of sore throats and provide practical tips to alleviate the discomfort.

Common causes of sore throats:

  • Viruses, like those that cause colds or flu.
  • The bacteria group A strep, which causes strep throat 
  • Allergies.
  • Smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke.
  • Dry air
  • Irritation caused by voice overuse, pollution, excessive dust or chemicals in the air
  • Throat or mouth cancer (not common, which affects approximately 1% of adults)

Symptoms of Sore and Scratchy Throats

Along with a sore throat, other symptoms may also develop, including: 

  • Fever.
  • Pain when swallowing.
  • Sore throat that can start very quickly and may look red.
  • Red and swollen tonsils.
  • Voice hoarseness/scratchy voice
  • White patches or streaks of pus/discharge on the tonsils.
  • Tiny, red spots on the roof of the mouth, called petechiae.
  • Swollen lymph nodes/glands in the front of the neck.
  • Cough, nasal and sinus congestion, runny nose
  • Itchy, watering and puppy eyes

Best Home Treatment for Sore Throats:

  • Rest
  • Hydration/plenty of liquids
  • Honey tea
  • Lemon and ginger tea
  • Peppermint tea
  • Herb tea such as chamomile tea 
  • Cough drops 
  • Sore throat lozenges
  • Sore throat spray
  • Salt water gargle
  • Hot/warm soup/broth
  • Apple cider vinegar 
  • OTC flu/cold medications with sore throat soothing effect
  • Ibuprofen or acetaminophen/Tylenol
  • Use of humidifier 
  • Stopping smoking and/or avoid secondhand smoke.

Sore Throat Symptoms That Need Medical Attention at Our Caldwell Urgent Care Clinic

Viral sore throats develop over a few days and may be accompanied by a cough, runny nose, or hoarse voice. Viral sore throats typically show signs of improvement within 4-5 days. 

Strep throat (bacterial-caused) tends to come on quickly and may include:

  • Fever over 100
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Rash, known as scarlet fever
  • Red and swollen tonsils, often with white patches or pus
  • Small, red spots on the roof of the mouth
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Concerning symptoms associated with sore throat include:

  • Blood in saliva or phlegm
  • Dehydration
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive drooling, especially in young children
  • Joint pain or swelling
  • Symptoms associated with strep throat (listed above)

Strep Throat Treatment:

A sore throat caused by bacteria is commonly called strep throat, bacterial strep throat, bacterial pharyngitis, or streptococcus pharyngitis (caused by the most common bacteria group, A streptococcus). 

Penicillin or amoxicillin is the antibiotic of choice to treat group A strep pharyngitis, which will be prescribed by healthcare providers if the strep test is confirmed to be positive. 

In-house testing available:

Core Medicine urgent care clinic provides the following tests for you and your family:

The test time is brief and you will get fast results within 5-15 minutes depending on the tests requested by the provider.

  • Strep throat test (usually tested for if symptoms of sore throat that mimics other common viral cold symptoms or has had strep throat exposure)
  • Covid-19 test
  • Influenza A and B (the most prevalent viruses that cause flu)
  • RSV (Respiratory syncytial virus) 
  • Mononucleosis (mono)