What Causes Sore Throat And Who Are At Risk At Developing It?

woman having her throat checked

Do you feel mild discomfort or a burning pain every time you swallow? If it feels rough or irritated, you might have a sore throat. But how did you get it?

Viral infection usually causes a sore throat, and this usually resolves on its own. However, the Mayo Clinic says there is another type of sore throat that’s less common and is usually caused by bacteria. This is called strep throat, and unlike a  sore throat from a viral infection, strep throat requires antibiotics to treat the infection and prevent complications.

Primary symptoms of a sore throat

There are several symptoms of a sore throat, depending on the cause. But a few common ones include difficulty swallowing and a scratchy sensation on the throat. Some patients even have little white spots on their tonsils, too. They’ll also notice that their tonsils appear red because of the infection.

People who have a sore throat often experience painful glands around their jaw or neck area. Once it gets worse, they’ll soon experience body aches coupled with fever and cough.

To accurately diagnose your condition, an ENT doctor in Denver will look at the back of your throat to perform a physical exam. Next, he’ll swab the back of your throat to collect a sample of bacteria. He’ll use the cotton swab to perform a rapid strep test to diagnose for strep throat. FamilyDoctor.org says that it’ll take at least a day or two to see the results of a throat culture.

doctor massaging patient's throat

Who are at risk at developing sore throat?

Anyone can get a sore throat, but certain people are more susceptible to it, especially children ages 3 to 15. Also, people who often get exposed to tobacco smoke are likely to develop a sore throat. People with seasonal allergies or persistent allergic reactions to mold and dust are also likely to develop a sore throat. The drainage from a person’s nose can either irritate their throat or cause it to spread infection.

People who work with chemicals are also at risk. That’s because the particles in the air coming from common household chemicals and burning fossil fuels can affect the throat, causing it to get irritated. Finally, anyone who is in constant close quarters with others is also prone to bacterial and viral infections. Proximity makes it easier to spread the virus, especially when in enclosed spaces.

How to protect yourself from sore throat

Since bacteria and viruses cause sore throat, you need to avoid any contact with germs as much as possible. Practicing proper hygiene is an excellent way to protect yourself from these.

You can start by regularly washing your hands, especially after using the toilet and after coughing or sneezing. Also, you need to do the same thing before you start your meal. Avoid sharing drinking glasses and food as much as possible, and refrain from touching public phones or drinking from communal drinking fountains. Lastly, try to avoid coming close to a person who’s already sick, especially if you know that you have a weak immune system.

If you notice any symptoms of sore throat, then it’s best to see your doctor immediately. Your doctor may prescribe you antiviral medicine to help reduce the chances that your sore throat will return.

About Faye Gonzales 1653 Articles
Meet our chief explorer, Faye Gonzales. With over a decade of travel experience, Faye is not only a passionate globetrotter but also a loving mom who understands the unique needs of family travelers. Her insights into family-friendly destinations and travel tips make her a trusted guide for parents seeking memorable adventures with their children.