Do you get sore throat?

Well, I do. My sore throat is often extreme, accompanied by cold, and develops into a cough. Last time I had a sore throat I was tested for strep throat with negative results. Tonsillitis runs in my family and my father was operated for tonsillitis in childhood. Most often sore throat are minor afflictions which go away on their own with home remedies like gargling salt water and so on. Viruses are the main cause for sore throats though bacterial infections and other factors like an allergy can also set off a sore throat.

Your sore throat may be due to:

  • Cold
  • Too much yelling or shouting (muscle strain).
  • Back-flow of stomach acid into throat, (GERD).
  • Allergy
  • Smoking
  • Air pollution or dry air
  • Breathing through the mouth due to cold.

HIV infection and tumors can also cause severe pain in the throat.

Viral illnesses like Common cold, Influenza and Mononucleosis (mono) also manifest in the form of sore throat. However you can have a sore throat along with Measles, Croup and Chicken Pox.


We already know about Common cold and Influenza. Mono not only causes sore throat, in some people it also leads to fever, body aches and swollen lymph nodes (in the neck, armpits and groin). It is accompanied by fatigue and enlargement of spleen causing pain in the upper left part of the belly. The lymph nodes may remain swollen for a little while even after recovering from Mono.

Doctors recommend salt water or saline gargles, drinking lots of water (drinking a sip at regular and short intervals) and complete rest. There is no medicine for viral infections.

Strep throat, Tonsillitis and Diphtheria are a result of Bacterial infections.

Strep throat

Caused by streptococcal bacteria, Strep throat is contagious. Very commonly found among children and teens, Strep throat may also have a fever of 101 F or higher, swollen lymph nodes and white or yellow coated tonsils. It is important to remember that strep throat may occur also when your tonsils is removed. Since it is bacterial antibiotics work well for Strep throat. If left untreated it may lead to Rheumatic fever.


Tonsillitis can be caused by both viruses and bacteria. The tonsils or the adenoids can be inflamed causing pain and difficulty in swallowing. Tiredness, runny nose, fever, cough are all part of Tonsillitis. Swollen adenoids (Adenoiditis) cause headache and vomiting and at times lead to ear infections. Pain killers and gargling salt water generally helps to get rid of tonsillitis.

Corynebacterium diphtheria is behind Diphtheria, a serious respiratory illness. It may have a variety of symptoms like bloody drainage from the nose, fever, croup (cough), breathing problems, chills and so on. It needs immediate medical attention.

Home treatment and care for Sore Throat

· Drink lots of fluids. It will prevent dehydration and also helps to soothe your throat. Adults may take honey and lemon in hot water.

· Gargle warm salt water.

· To prevent spreading infection avoid work and school for a couple of days until you start with your medicines.

· Do not share the same utensils, towels and the like with your family.

· Quit smoking and passive smoking!

A fever of above 100 F, swollen lymph nodes, a rash and breathing problems along with sore throat will need prompt medical attention.

-Aparna K V

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