Cold Home > Advice for Sore Throat

If you are searching for advice for a sore throat, it is important to understand potential causes, other possible symptoms, and when to call your healthcare provider.
The two most common reasons for a sore throat are an infection with either a virus (the most common) or bacteria. Strep throat is the most common bacterial cause of a sore throat. It is caused by group A streptococcus (GAS, Streptococcus pyogenes).
Strep throat symptoms usually begin suddenly and can include:
  • A fever above 101ºF (38.3ºC)
  • Red and enlarged tonsils
  • Tender or swollen lymph glands in the neck.
You should seek medical care if you (or your child) have any of the following symptoms:
  • Temperature higher than 101ºF (38.3ºC)
  • Difficulty breathing, swallowing, or opening the mouth
  • Severe sore throat
  • A sore throat that lasts longer than one week.
(Click Sore Throat for more detailed advice for a sore throat, including how a throat infection is diagnosed and treated. This article also gives tips on how to prevent spreading throat infections.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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