Sore Throat Causes

Bacterial Infections

Throat infections with bacteria can also cause a sore throat. Strep throat is the most common bacterial throat infection. It is caused by group A streptococcus bacteria.
Strep throat is an illness most often seen in children and teenagers. Up to 30 percent of sore throat illnesses in children between the ages of 5 and 15 are the result of strep throat. Adults and infants can also get this throat infection, although it is less common. Up to 10 percent of adults that seek medical care for a sore throat are diagnosed with strep.
Other, less-common bacterial causes for a sore throat include:
  • Group C or group G streptococcus
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae (the cause of gonorrhea) -- these bacteria can cause a sore throat as a result of oral sex
  • Corynebacterium diphtheriae (the cause of diphtheria)
  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae (usually occurs with acute bronchitis)
  • Chlamydophila pneumoniae.

Other Possible Sore Throat Causes

Besides an infection, there are other medical conditions or environmental influences that might cause a sore throat. These include:
  • Allergies
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Dehydration
  • Dry air
  • Pollution (airborne chemicals or irritants)
  • Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
  • In young children, getting something stuck in the throat or breathing tubes (such as food or a toy).
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Sore Throat Information

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