Severe Sore Throat
Although most sore throats are not a serious problem, there are times when it is important to seek medical attention. You should call your healthcare provider if you (or your child) have any of the following symptoms:
- Temperature higher than 101ºF (38.3ºC)
- Swelling in the neck or tongue
- Difficulty breathing, swallowing, or opening the mouth
- Severe sore throat
- Stiff neck
- Recurring sore throats
- You have been exposed to someone with strep throat or a sexually transmitted disease.
Depending on the cause of your sore throat, there are ways to help reduce pain and discomfort. For example, even if you have a viral infection and can't take prescription medications, you can try taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers. These can include acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Aleve®). Other remedies include oral rinses, decongestants, and throat lozenges.
(Click Sore Throat Symptoms and Sore Throat Remedies for more information on symptoms of a severe sore throat that may require medical care. These articles also describe some treatment options that may be available for various throat infections.)