Pain in the throat may be caused by a variety of inflammations of the larynx, pharynx, or tonsils. Throat soreness is typically associated with painful swallowing. Inflammation of the pharynx (pharyngitis) is the most common form of sore throat and is usually from virus infection.
Other causes of sore throat
- Bacterial Infection
- Chemical Irritation (Tear Gas, Smoke, etc.)
- Dry Air
- Virus Infection
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
A Cold or The Flu? How to Tell the Difference
Learn common symptoms of a cold and the flu. Discover the difference between a cold and the flu. Read about cold and flu...
Home Remedies for Sick Children
Home remedies for kids can help with things like colds, flu, cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, fever, and upset stomach. Eating...
Picture of Strep Throat
Strep infection often produces a distinct pattern of white patches in the throat and on the tonsils, as well as red swollen...
Sore Throat or Strep Throat? How to Tell the Difference
Is this a sore throat or could it be strep throat? Your medical care depends on knowing if you have a viral infection or a...
Strep (Streptococcal) Throat Infection Quiz: Test Your Infectious Disease IQ
Take the Strep (Streptococcal) Throat Infection Quiz to learn about causes, symptoms, treatments, prevention methods, diagnosis,...
Symptoms of Mono: Infectious Mononucleosis Treatment
What is mononucleosis (mono)? Learn about mononucleosis (mono) symptoms, treatment, and diagnosis. Discover how mononucleosis...
Viral Infection Types, Treatment, and Prevention
Watch this slideshow on Viral Infections and learn about types, treatment, and prevention of illnesses caused by viruses.
Whooping Cough (Pertussis) Symptoms, Vaccine Facts
Whooping cough (bordetella pertussis) is a highly contagious bacterial infection. Read how vaccines and antibiotics could prevent...
Causes of Sore Throat
Adenovirus infections are common and often have no symptoms. Adenoviruses cause illnesses like bladder infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, bronchitis, pinkeye, colds, encephalitis, sore throat, and meningitis. Signs and symptoms of an adenovirus infection depend on the type of virus causing the infection. Treatment focuses on supportive care. A vaccine against adenovirus type 4 and 7 is available only to U.S. military personnel.
Are You Too Sick to Work?
When you're not feeling well, it may be difficult to decide whether to stay home or go to school or work. Conditions that are very painful may prevent you from working effectively. Anyone with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, or dizziness should stay home.
Bird Flu (Avian Influenza, Avian Flu)
Bird flu (avian flu, avian influenza) infection in humans may result from contact with infected poultry. There is a vaccine to prevent human infection with the H5N1 strain of the avian flu virus.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS or SEID)
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID) is a debilitating and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue that lasts six months or longer, is not improved by bed rest, and may be worsened by physical or mental activity.
Cold vs. Flu
Though the common cold and flu share many signs and symptoms, they are caused by different viruses. Signs and symptoms include sneezing, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue, and cough. Treatment options for the cold and flu are similar and focus on reducing symptoms. Doctors may prescribe antivirals/neuraminidase inhibitors for the flu.
Cold, Flu, Allergy Treatments
Before treating a cold, the flu, or allergies with over-the-counter (OTC) medications, it's important to know what's causing the symptoms, which symptoms one wishes to relieve, and the active ingredients in the OTC product. Taking products that only contain the medications needed for relieving your symptoms prevents ingestion of unnecessary medications and reduces the chances of side effects.
The common cold (viral upper respiratory tract infection) is a contagious illness that may be caused by various viruses. Symptoms include a stuffy nose, headache, cough, sore throat, and maybe a fever. Antibiotics have no effect upon the common cold, and there is no evidence that zinc and vitamin C are effective treatments.
COVID-19 (Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV)
Infection with COVID-19 (2019 novel coronavirus, 2019-nCoV) causes respiratory problems in humans. Transmission of COVID-19 occurs mainly through contact with respiratory sections from an infected person, however, fecal contamination may also spread the virus. Symptoms start off flu-like and progress to coughing, fever, shortness of breath, shaking chills, headache, loss of sense of taste and/or smell, muscle pain, and sore throat. Treatment focuses on supportive care and symptom relief.
Coxsackieviruses may be divided into two groups. Type A causes hand, foot, and mouth disease and conjunctivitis, while type B causes pleurodynia. Both types sometimes cause meningitis, myocarditis, and pericarditis. There is no specific treatment for this disease.
Croup is a contagious viral infection that affects children's respiratory system. Symptoms include a barking cough, stridor, fever and difficulty breathing. Treatment my incorporate the use of a humidifier, saline nasal spray, and pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a virus that is spread from person to person via spit, semen, vaginal secretions, urine, blood, sexual contact, breastfeeding, blood transfusions, organ transplants, and breast milk. Symptoms of CMV include fatigue, swollen glands, fever, and sore throat. You can take precautions to prevent CMV such as washing hands frequently and thoroughly and using condoms. If you work in a day care center, wash your hands thoroughly after contact with body secretions, and avoid oral contact with objects covered in saliva. Individuals with HIV infection are at most risk of contracting CMV.
Diphtheria is a disease that causes symptoms and signs such as fever, enlarged lymph nodes, and swallowing problems. Erythromycin is the primary treatment for diphtheria. Vaccines that prevent diphtheria include the DTaP, Tdap, DT, and Td.
Ebola (Ebola Virus Disease or Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever)
Ebola hemorrhagic fever (HF) is an often-fatal disease that causes fever, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, sore throat, stomach pain, rash, and red eyes. There is no standard treatment for Ebola HF.
Enterovirus (Non-Polio Enterovirus Infection)
Non-polio enteroviruses cause a variety of infections, including aseptic meningitis, hand, foot, and mouth disease, herpangina, and the common cold. Symptoms and signs of enterovirus infection include hypoxia, eye pain, shortness of breath, chest pain, and fever. Treatment of non-polio enterovirus infection involves supportive care that reduces the symptoms and signs, as there are no antiviral medications approved for treatment.
Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)
The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a common cause of mononucleosis (viral pharyngitis). Symptoms and signs of an EBV infection include swollen lymph nodes, fever, rash, sore throat, malaise, and a swollen liver and/or spleen. Treatment focuses on reducing the severity of the symptoms and signs. There is no vaccine to prevent EBV infections.
Influenza (flu) is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. The flu may be prevented with an annual influenza vaccination.
Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
Hand, foot, and mouth syndrome is clinical pattern consisting of a rash on the hands and feet, and in the mouth. Hand, foot, and mouth syndrome is caused by various viruses, including several types of Coxsackieviruses. Other symptoms include sore throat, decreased appetite, irritability, and (or) fever.
Herpangina is a contagious illness often seen in children. It is caused by a Coxsackievirus or an enterovirus. Symptoms and signs include mouth sores, fever, and sore throat. Treatment focuses on alleviating fever and pain with acetaminophen and ibuprofen. It is important for children to stay well hydrated, as children may be resistant to eating or drinking.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection left untreated causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Still incurable, AIDS describes immune system collapse that opens the way for opportunistic infections and cancers to kill the patient. Early symptoms and signs of HIV infection include flu-like symptoms and fungal infections, but some people may not show any symptoms for years. Highly active antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the standard treatment for HIV infection. These combination drug regimens have made HIV much less deadly, but a cure or vaccine for the pandemic remains out of reach. HIV is usually transmitted through sexual contact or sharing IV drug needles, but can also infect someone through contact with infected blood. Sexual abstinence, safe sex practices, quitting IV drugs (or at least using clean needles), and proper safety equipment by clinicians and first responders can drastically reduce transmission rates for HIV/AIDS.
Infectious mononucleosis is a virus infection in which there is an increase of white blood cells that are mononuclear (with a single nucleus) "Mono" and "kissing disease" are popular terms for this very common illness caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
Is a Cough Contagious?
There are many types of coughs: for example, dry cough, wet cough, a barking cough, whooping cough, stress induced cough, acute cough, and chronic cough. Cough is a symptom of an underlying condition or disease. Treatment of cough as a symptom is generally with OTC lozenges and liquids. The cause of the cough will be necessary to treat.
Is Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) Contagious?
Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a highly contagious disease caused by several enteroviruses. These viruses are transmitted via nasal secretions, kissing, and saliva. HFMD causes the following symptoms and signs: decreased appetite, sore throat, fever, weakness, and painful sores on the hands, feet, and in the mouth.
Is Mononucleosis (Mono) Contagious?
Mononucleosis (mono) is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus and can be transmitted by an infected person's saliva. Mono symptoms and signs include rash, enlarged spleen, swollen lymph nodes, fever, sore throat, and fatigue.
Is Sore Throat (Pharyngitis) Contagious?
The medical term for a sore throat is pharyngitis. There are many causes of a sore throat such as medications, diseases (GERD, cancer, AIDS), infections (Streptococcus or strep, mononucleosis), allergies, and smoking. Symptoms are a red, swollen throat; fever, and swollen lymph nodes. Treatment for sore throat depends on the cause.
Is the Ebola Virus Contagious?
Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a highly contagious disease that is transmitted through direct contact. Ebola's incubation period ranges from two to 21 days, and it's considered contagious for a period of 21 days after successful treatment/hospitalization. Ebola symptoms and signs include headache, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and hemorrhaging.
Larynx Cancer (Throat Cancer)
Symptoms and signs of cancer of the larynx, the organ at the front of the neck, include hoarseness, a lump in the neck, sore throat, cough, problems breathing, bad breath, earache, and weight loss. Treatment for larynx cancer depends on the stage (the extent) of the disease. Radiation therapy, surgery, and chemotherapy are all forms of treatment for laryngeal cancer.
Lassa fever is a viral hemorrhagic fever that causes flu-like symptoms. Ribavirin is the standard treatment for Lassa fever. Hearing loss is a common complication of Lassa fever.
Marburg Virus Disease
Marburg virus disease is a zoonotic infection that produces symptoms such as chills, headaches, fever, and muscle aches. The treatment for Marburg virus disease involves supportive care. Barrier and isolation techniques are the best preventive measures for Marburg infections.
Nasopharyngeal cancer is a form of cancer in which malignant cells form in the nasopharynx tissues. Risk factors include being of Chinese or Asian ancestry and exposure to the Epstein-Barr virus. Symptoms and signs of nasopharyngeal cancer include a sore throat, a lump in the neck or nose, trouble hearing, nosebleeds, headaches, and trouble hearing, breathing, or speaking. Treatment depends upon the stage of the cancer, the tumor size, the type of cancer, and the patient's health and age.
Nipah Virus Infection
Nipah virus infection is a zoonotic infection that fruit bats and pigs can transmit to humans. NiV signs and symptoms include headache, fever, myalgia, atypical pneumonia, and encephalitis. Treatment focuses on supportive care.
The term oral cancer includes cancer of the mouth (oral cavity) and the back of the mouth (oropharynx). Red and white patches inside the mouth, bleeding, loose teeth, pain upon swallowing, a lump in the neck, earache, and a sore on your lip or in your mouth that won't heal are all symptoms of oral cancer. Treatment for oral cancer depends upon the staging of the disease and usually involves surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.
Pityriasis rosea is a rash that begins with a large pink patch with well-defined scaly borders on the back, chest, or neck. In one to two weeks, the person will develop many smaller pink patches on his or her trunk, arms, and legs. Symptoms include mild itching and possible sore throat, fatigue, nausea, aching, and decreased appetite. Pityriasis rosea typically resolves on its own and symptoms and signs may be treated with topical steroid creams and oral antihistamines.
Pregnancy (Week by Week, Trimesters)
Signs and symptoms of pregnancy vary by stage (trimester). The earliest pregnancy symptom is typically a missed period, but others include breast swelling and tenderness, nausea and sometimes vomiting, fatigue, and bloating. Second trimester symptoms include backache, weight gain, itching, and possible stretch marks. Third trimester symptoms are additional weight gain, heartburn, hemorrhoids, swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face, breast tenderness, and trouble sleeping. Eating a healthy diet, getting a moderate amount of exercise, also are recommended for a healthy pregnancy. Information about the week by week growth of your baby in the womb are provided.
Relapsing polychondritis is an uncommon, chronic disorder of the cartilage that is characterized by recurrent episodes of inflammation of the cartilage of various tissues of the body. Tissues containing cartilage that can become inflamed include the ears, nose, joints, spine, and windpipe (trachea). Tissues that have a biochemical makeup similar to that of cartilage such as the eyes, heart, and blood vessels, can also be affected. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) is used as treatment for mild cases of the disease. Steroid-related medications also are usually required.
Scarlet Fever (Scarlatina)
Scarlet fever, a bacterial infection caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria, causes symptoms and signs such as fever, rash with a sandpaper-like texture, and sore throat. Oral penicillin is the standard treatment for scarlet fever, or scarlatina.
Sick Building Syndrome
Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) or also referred to as sick building syndrome or environmental illness is the name given by some to a condition in which various symptoms reportedly appear after a person has been exposed to any of a wide range of chemicals. The exposure may occur as a major event, such as a chemical spill, or from long-term contact with low-levels of chemicals, such as in an office with poor ventilation. As a result of exposure, people with MCS (Si ck Building Syndrome) develop sensitivity and have reactions to the chemicals even at levels most people can tolerate.
Sinus Infection vs. Cold
Viruses cause the common cold and most sinus infections. Bacterial and fungal infections may also cause a sinus infection. Signs and symptoms of colds and sinus infections include nasal irritation or dryness, sore throat, stuffy nose, nasal discharge/congestion, sneezing, and cough. Additional symptoms of sinus infections include sinus pressure behind the cheeks or eyes, facial pain when pressure is applied, bad breath, and thick yellow or green mucus. Treatment focuses on symptom relief.
Sjögren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease involving the abnormal production of extra antibodies that attack the glands and connective tissue. Sjögren's syndrome with gland inflammation (resulting dry eyes and mouth, etc.) that is not associated with another connective tissue disease is referred to as primary Sjögren's syndrome. Sjögren's syndrome that is also associated with a connective tissue disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, or scleroderma, is referred to as secondary Sjögren's syndrome. Though there is no cure for Sjögren's syndrome, the symptoms may be treated by using lubricating eye ointments, drinking plenty of water, humidifying the air, and using glycerin swabs. Medications are also available to treat dry eye and dry mouth.
Sore throat (throat pain) usually is described as pain or discomfort in the throat area. A sore throat may be caused by bacterial infections, viral infections, toxins, irritants, trauma, or injury to the throat area. Common symptoms of a sore throat include a fever, cough, runny nose, hoarseness, earaches, sneezing, and body aches. Home remedies for a sore throat include warm soothing liquids and throat lozenges. OTC remedies for a sore throat include OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Antibiotics may be necessary for some cases of sore throat.
Sore Throat Home Remedies
Natural and home remedies for sore throat symptoms and pain relief include essential oils, licorice gargles, slippery elm leaves, raw garlic, Throat Coat tea, sage, and acupuncture. Typical symptoms of a sore throat include throat pain, coughing, sneezing, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. Sore throats are caused by viral (common cold, flu, mumps), bacterial (tonsillitis, some STDs), toxins, allergens, trauma or injury, or "mechanical causes" (breathing through the mouth).
STDs in Men
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections transmitted during sexual contact. They may be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites. STDs in men cause no symptoms or symptoms like genital burning, itching, sores, rashes, or discharge. Common infections that are sexually transmitted in men include gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, hepatitis C and B, genital warts, human papillomavirus (HPV), and genital herpes. Some STDs in men are treatable while others are not. STDs are diagnosed with tests that identify proteins or genetic material of the organisms causing the infection. The prognosis of an STD depends on whether the infection is treatable or not. Use of latex condoms can help reduce the risk of contracting an STD but it does not eliminate the risk entirely.
Still's disease (systemic-onset juvenile rheumatoid arthritis) is a disorder characterized by inflammation with high fever spikes, fatigue, salmon-colored rash, and/or arthritis. Though there have been several theories regarding the cause(s) of Still's disease, the cause is not yet known. Many symptoms of Still's disease are often treatable with anti-inflammatory drugs.
Strep Throat (Treatment, Causes, Home Remedies)
Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the throat. Signs and symptoms of strep throat include headache, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, and fever. Strep throat symptoms in infants and children are different than in adults. Strep throat is contagious and is generally passed from person-to-person. Treatment for strep throat symptoms include home remedies and OTC medication; however, the only cure for strep throat are antibiotics.
Group A streptococcal infections are caused by group A streptococcus, a bacteria that causes a variety of health problems, including strep throat, impetigo, cellulitis, erysipelas, and scarlet fever. There are more than 10 million group A strep infections each year.
Novel H1N1 influenza A virus infection (swine flu) is an infection that generally is transferred from an infected pig to a human, however there have been reported cases where infection has occured with no contact with infected pigs. Symptoms of swine flu are "flu-like" and include fever, cough, and sore throat. Treatment is generally with the antibiotics oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza).
There are four major types of thyroid cancer: papillary, follicular, medullary, and anaplastic thyroid cancer. Tumors on the thyroid are referred to as thyroid nodules. Symptoms of thyroid cancer include swollen lymph nodes, pain in the throat, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, and a lump near the Adam's apple. Treatment usually involves chemotherapy, surgery, radioactive iodine, hormone treatment or external radiation and depends upon the type of thyroid cancer, the patient's age, the tumor size, and whether the cancer has metastasized.
Tonsillitis is a contagious infection with symptoms of bad breath, snoring, congestion, headache, hoarseness, laryngitis, and coughing up blood. Tonsillitis can be caused acute infection of the tonsils, and several types of bacteria or viruses (for example, strep throat or mononucleosis). There are two types of tonsillitis, acute and chronic. Acute tonsillitis lasts from one to two weeks while chronic tonsillitis can last from months to years. Treatment of tonsillitis and adenoids include antibiotics, over-the-counter medications, and home remedies to relieve pain and inflammation, for example, salt water gargle, slippery elm throat lozenges, sipping warm beverages and eating frozen foods (ice cream, popsicles), serrapeptase, papain, and andrographism Some people with chronic tonsillitis may need surgery (tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy).
What Is Mucus?
Mucus is a normal substance produced by lining tissues in the body. Excess mucus or mucus that is yellow, green, brown, or bloody may indicate a problem. Mucus production may increase when allergies, a cold, flu, cough, or sore throat are present. Antihistamines and cold and flu medications may help alleviate excess mucus. A neti pot may be used to decrease nasal congestion and clear mucus.
Examples of Medications for Sore Throat
- acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tylenol Arthritis Pain, Tylenol Ext, Little Fevers Children's Fever/Pain)
- amoxicillin (Amoxil, Moxatag, Larotid)
- aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid, Bayer, Ecotrin, and others)
- ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin)
- loratadine and pseudoephedrine (Alavert Allergy & Sinus, Claritin-D, Claritin-D 24 hour)
- naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn)
- Nitrofurantoin vs. Cephalexin
- penicillin V
- Suprax (cefixime) vs. Augmentin
- Suprax (cefixime) vs. azithromycin
- Suprax (cefixime) vs. cefpodoxime
- Suprax (cefixime) vs. cefuroxime
- Suprax (cefixime) vs. Keflex (cephalexin)
- Suprax (cefixime) vs. Rocephin (ceftriaxone)
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter