A sore throat is discomfort, pain, or scratchiness in the throat. A sore throat often makes it painful to swallow.
Throat - sore; Pain - throat
Sore throats are common. Most of the time the soreness is worse in the morning and improves as the day progresses.
Like colds, the vast majority of sore throats are caused by viral infections. This means most sore throats will NOT respond to antibiotics. Many people have a mild sore throat at the beginning of every cold. When the nose or sinuses become infected, drainage can run down the back of the throat and irritate it, especially at night. Or, the throat itself can be infected.
Some viruses can cause specific types of sore throat. For example, Coxsackievirus sometimes causes blisters in the throat, especially in the late summer and early fall. Mononucleosis and the flu can also cause specific viral throat infections.
A sore throat is less likely to be strep throat if it is a minor part of a typical cold (with
Sometimes breathing through the mouth will cause a sore throat in the absence of any infection. During the months of dry winter air, some people will wake up with a sore throat most mornings. This usually disappears after having something to drink.
In addition, allergies (
With a sore throat, sometimes the tonsils or surrounding parts of the throat are inflamed. Either way, removing the tonsils to try to prevent future sore throats is not recommended for most children.
- Breathing through the mouth (can cause drying and irritation of the throat)
Endotracheal intubation(tube insertion) Flu Infectious mononucleosis
- Something stuck in the throat (See:
Choking child or adultand CPR) Strep throat
- Surgery such as
Review Date: 12/01/2008
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.