Scroll Top

Sore Throat

Sore throat


What Causing your Sore Throat?

Do you know if your sore throat is caused by a cold, strep throat, or tonsillitis? Here’s how to figure things out.

What’s the Difference Between a
Cold, Strep Throat, and Tonsillitis?

A sore throat is a common symptom of a cold. A sore throat caused by a cold, on the other hand, usually improves or disappears after the first day or two. The painful throat may be followed by other cold symptoms such as a runny nose and congestion.

Another cause of sore throats and tonsillitis is strep throat, which is caused by the streptococcus bacteria. The sore throat caused by strep throat is often more acute and lasts longer.

Tonsillitis is an infection or inflammation of the tonsils, which are the tissue masses in the back of the throat.

Sore Throat

Is a Sore Throat With a Cold
Caused by Viruses or Bacteria?

Viruses and bacteria can cause sore throats. Viruses are the most prevalent cause of sore throats. Other cold symptoms that may accompany viral sore throats include a runny nose, cough, red or watery eyes, and sneezing. Smoking, pollution or allergens in the air, allergies and dry air are all causes of sore throat.

Along With a Sore Throat,
What are Other Cold Symptoms?

Other common cold symptoms, in addition to a sore throat, include:

How Are Sore Throats With Colds Treated?

While there are no treatments for a sore throat caused by a cold virus, there are some things you may do to make yourself feel better. Pain and fever sensations can be relieved by drinking warm beverages, gargling with warm salt water, sucking on ice chips, or using an over-the-counter drug. When you have a cold, you should also get enough rest, eat a balanced diet, and drink lots of water.

Can Medications Relieve
Symptoms of a Sore Throat With a Cold?

Cold and sore throat symptoms may be relieved with over-the-counter cold drugs. However, the advantages of these medications are minor. The following are some cold medications:

  • To ease the aches and pains of a cold and sore throat, take pain medicines including paracetamol, ibuprofen, and naproxen. (Aspirin should not be administered to children since it has been linked to Reye’s syndrome, a fatal brain condition.)
  • Sore throat sprays and lozenges can briefly relieve the pain and soothe the throat. (Young children should not be given lozenges.)
  • Postnasal drip, or nasal drainage that flows down your throat, causes a sore throat. Decongestant nasal sprays can help. (If you don’t stop using nasal decongestant sprays after three days, you can experience an increase in congestion.)

Antibiotics should not be used to treat a cold or sore throat caused by a virus. Antibiotics can only be used to treat bacteria. They will not relieve sore throats caused by viruses, such as those caused by colds.

Strep Throat

How Is Strep Throat Different
From a Sore Throat With a Cold?

An infection of the streptococcus bacteria causes strep throat. Contact with an infected person’s saliva or nasal secretions promotes strep throat. Strep throat is more frequent in children aged 5 to 15, but it can also affect adults. Your doctor can use a fast strep test or send a throat sample to the lab for culture to diagnose strep throat. They might be able to diagnose strep based on your symptoms and other indicators, such as white spots in the throat, fever, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck, in some circumstances.

Is Strep Throat More Serious
Then a Sore Throat With a Cold?

Strep throat can lead to more dangerous conditions like rheumatic fever, which can damage the heart valves. That is why it is critical to seek medical attention. Strep throat is normally treated in 10 days with correct therapy.

Are Strep Throat Symptoms Different
From a Sore Throat With a Cold?

Symptoms of strep throat are frequently more severe than those of a sore throat caused by a cold, and may include:

  • Sudden sore throat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Painful swallowing
  • Red tonsils with white spots
  • Fever


Do I Need to See My Doctor
if I Think I Have Strep Throat?

A cold and strep throat can have very similar symptoms. If you suspect you have strep throat, make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and perform a physical exam, and a strep test may be ordered.

What Is a Strep Test for a Sore Throat?

A quick strep test examines the throat for streptococcus bacteria infection. The test is painless and just takes a few minutes. The back of the throat is wiped with the tip of a cotton swab. The swab is then immediately tested. You have strep throat if the strep test is positive. If the strep test comes back negative, you are most likely free of strep throat. Your healthcare practitioner can perform a separate throat swab test that is sent to the lab to see if strep bacteria can be grown (cultured) from it if there are strong signs of strep throat. The findings of a throat culture take a few days to come back.

What Is the Treatment for Strep Throat?

Antibiotics are used to treat strep throat because they kill the bacteria that cause the condition. Antibiotics are commonly administered as pills or as an injection. Antibiotics like penicillin and amoxicillin are commonly used to treat strep throat. People who are allergic to penicillin are given other antibiotics.

Follow your healthcare provider’s antibiotic usage guidelines. Even if you feel better, finish the drug. Within a day or two, you should feel much better. A person with strep throat should stay at home for the first 24 hours after beginning antibiotic treatment.

What If My Strep Throat
Isn’t Getting Better?

Notify your doctor right away if your strep throat does not improve. If your health care practitioner advises you to stop taking your medication, do so. If you have any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor:

  • Fever one or two days after feeling better
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Earache
  • Headache
  • Neck stiffness
  • Skin rash
  • Cough
  • Swollen glands
  • Painful joints
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dark urine, rash, or chest pain (may occur three to four weeks later)


How Is Tonsillitis Different
From a Sore Throat With a Cold?

Tonsillitis, or inflammation of the tonsils, can sometimes cause a painful throat. Viruses or bacteria can cause tonsillitis. The tonsils’ purpose is to help fight infection, yet they can become infected themselves. Tonsillitis and an extremely painful sore throat ensue when they do.

How Are Tonsillitis Symptoms Different
From Symptoms of a Sore Throat With a Cold?

A cold frequently causes nasal symptoms, such as a runny nose or congestion, in addition to a sore throat. Tonsils swell and may have unmistakable white or yellow patches if you have tonsillitis. Tonsillitis can also cause the following symptoms:

  • Bad breath
  • Fever
  • Voice changes because of swelling
  • Painful swallowing
  • Swollen lymph glands in the neck

How Is a Sore Throat
From Tonsillitis Treated?

Antibiotics are provided if the tonsillitis infection is bacterial, such as strep throat. Antibiotics will not assist if the tonsillitis infection is viral. For the painful throat to go away, the virus must run its course. The following treatments may assist with either type of throat infection:

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drinking lots of fluid
  • Eating smooth, soothing foods like gelatin, ice cream, shakes, frozen desserts, and soup
  • Avoiding crunchy or spicy foods
  • Use a humidifier
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as paracetamol, naproxen, or ibuprofen. Children should not take aspirin.

The doctor may recommend a tonsillectomy, which is the surgical removal of the tonsils, if tonsillitis infections occur frequently or if the tonsils are interfering with sleep and breathing.