- Pictures of The Anatomy of a Sore Throat - Slideshow
- Pictures of Natural Cold & Flu Remedies - Slideshow
- Pictures of The Common Cold - Slideshow
- Patient Comments: Sore Throat - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Sore Throat - Home Remedies
- Patient Comments: Sore Throat - OTC Remedies
- Patient Comments: Sore Throat - Antibiotics
- Patient Comments: Sore Throat - Experience
- Sore throat facts
- What is the difference between sore throat and strep throat?
- What are the causes of sore throat?
- What are the signs and symptoms of a sore throat?
- Is a sore throat contagious?
- When should I see a doctor for a sore throat?
- How is strep throat diagnosed?
- What are home remedies to soothe a sore throat?
- What over-the-counter (OTC) medications will soothe a sore throat?
- Are antibiotics necessary for a sore throat?
- What can I do if I have a sore throat and am pregnant?
- What if I have multiple recurrent episodes of strep throat?
- How can I prevent a sore throat?
Quick GuideSore Throat or Strep Throat? How to Tell the Difference
What are the signs and symptoms of a sore throat?
The signs and symptoms of a sore throat vary depending on the underlying cause. However, the common symptom shared by individuals with a sore throat is the feeling of throat pain and discomfort, which is often worsened by swallowing or talking. Some people may complain of a scratchy or dry sensation in their throat as well.
Because most cases of sore throat are caused by an infection, individuals may commonly experience any of the additional following signs and symptoms:
- Fever and/or chills
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Body aches
- Runny nose or nasal congestion
- Lack of appetite
- Redness and/or swelling of the tonsils and back of the throat
- White patchy areas on the tonsils (exudate)
- Swollen and/or tender lymph nodes in the neck
- A muffled or hoarse voice
Distinguishing between a sore throat caused by a virus and strep throat can be challenging, but there are certain features that can often help differentiate them. Generally speaking, individuals with strep throat will have red swollen tonsils with white patches (exudate), fever, and swollen tender lymph nodes in the neck WITHOUT the symptoms typically seen with a viral infection (a "cold") such as cough, runny nose, nasal congestion, and sneezing. However, this distinction is not always present, and therefore an evaluation with a health care professional may be necessary to accurately confirm the diagnosis. Only a throat culture (swab taken from the back of the throat) can definitively diagnose a strep throat.