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Symptoms, causes, and treatments for Sore Throats

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Sore Throat


Symptoms of a Sore Throat

If your throat hurts or just feels super uncomfortable when swallowing, you may have a sore throat or what docs call “pharyngitis.”


Symptoms associated with sore throats include:


  • Burning or itching when swallowing
  • Coughing
  • Mild fever
  • Nasal drip
  • Sneezing
  • Tiredness

Causes of a Sore Throat

Viral infections and bacterial infections are the two primary causes of sore throats. Colds, which are a viral infection, can manifest into a nasty sore throat and partner up with other familiar symptoms (fever, coughing, sneezing, and so on). Viral infections tend to clear up in a matter of days without medication.


However, your sore throat could indicate a more serious bacterial infection. Heard of strep throat (streptococcal bacteria)? Not fun.


Luckily, we test for strep on site at all of our Portland, Seattle, Salem, and Vancouver neighborhood clinics.

Should I Be Worried?

Typically, no.


But don’t wait it out if your temperature spikes above 101°F: that’s one of the key signs you’re infected with strep.


Even if you’re strep-free, a high fever might mean a really bad flu or mononucleosis (a.k.a., mono, a.k.a. the kissing disease). However, our doctors should determine the underlying cause of your illness. That’s because certain conditions can be triggered by strep throat, such as rheumatic heart disease or kidney disease.


The following can also increase the chance your sore throat is actually strep throat instead of a viral infection:


  • Under the age of 14
  • Swollen and/or seeping tonsils
  • Swollen or tender neck lymph nodes
  • Lack of a cough

Also, no one likes getting sick from their coworkers. Strep throat is contagious for up to three weeks. So if you think you have strep throat, 1: stop sharing drinks; and 2: don’t put off an examination.


Other worrisome strep symptoms to watch out for:


  • Swollen lymph nodes or tonsils
  • Bright-red throat
  • White or yellow throat spots

Schedule a sore throat visit online or from our iOS app today.


Find a neighborhood ZOOM+Care clinic near you in Portland, Seattle, Salem, or Vancouver.

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