A sore throat or “pharyngitis” is a condition that is often caused by a viral or bacterial infection. A sore throat occurs when the infection causes the tissues in the back of your mouth and throat to become inflamed and irritated. While uncomfortable and annoying, most sore throats are caused by viral infections such as the common cold and will resolve on their own without antibiotics. Occasionally a sore throat is caused by a bacterial infection. A type of bacteria called group A streptococcus is responsible for the type of sore throat commonly known as “strep throat.” In the case of strep throat a course of antibiotics is prescribed to treat the infection and prevent complications.
WHO IS AT RISK?
Sore throats are one of the most common reasons for doctor visits. Most people will experience several in their lifetimes. You are at the highest risk for developing a sore throat in the winter months when upper respiratory tract infections are at their peak. Often a sore throat is the first sign that a cold is on the way.
SORE THROAT SYMPTOMS
The symptoms of sore throat depend on the cause. Patients often describe the feeling of a sore throat as a scratchy or burning sensation in the back of the throat, especially when swallowing. Sore throats are frequently associated with other symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, cough, fever, fatigue and swollen glands in the neck. Symptoms such as a high fever and lack of cold symptoms may point more towards a bacterial infection such as strep throat.
DIAGNOSIS AND SORE THROAT TREATMENT
A sore throat is diagnosed through careful medical history and examination. Sometimes a throat swab is preformed to help aid in the diagnosis. Treatment depends on the diagnosis. Most treatment is directed towards helping with symptoms while the infection runs its course. If a bacterial infection is diagnosed a course of antibiotics is often prescribed.
HOW PLUSHCARE WORKS
At PlushCare all of our visits are through a simple and convenient phone or video consultation. Our doctors are able to help diagnose the cause of a sore throat and recommend a treatment course. If appropriate, we can provide a prescription for medications such as antibiotics. If the doctor prescribes a medication, the prescription will be sent electronically to the pharmacy of your choice for immediate pick-up.