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Should I Worry About My Sore Throat?

A sore throat is a common side effect of the common cold, but it may also be an indication something more serious is wrong.

Internal medicine specialist, John Moran, MD, recommends paying attention to your sore throat and associated symptoms to ensure you receive medical help when you need it. Dr. Moran offers on-site diagnostic evaluations and treatment services for a sore throat and related complications at More MD.

Why your throat is so sore

A sore throat generally starts as a mild irritation at the back of your throat. With each swallow, the pain can become more noticeable until there’s no mistaking the fact you officially have a sore throat.

People often develop a sore throat because of a cold or allergies. You may also have a sore throat if you’re prone to post-nasal drainage. Other common causes of a sore throat include:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also lists a sore throat as a symptom of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

When to seek treatment for a sore throat

Sore throat pain can range from mild to severe. When you can no longer swallow efficiently or without pain, you should schedule an evaluation at More MD as soon as possible to get an accurate diagnosis.

Medical treatment for a sore throat is also recommended if you try home remedies to ease your pain, such as gargling with warm salt water and drinking hot liquids.

When your throat relates to something potentially more serious than the common cold or a lack of humidity, you may experience additional symptoms that require medical attention. Always contact the More MD team if you have a sore throat that’s accompanied by:

If there’s drainage present or if you have bad breath or a foul taste in your mouth, it may be a warning sign that you have a potentially dangerous infection. White spots on your tongue and the back of your throat are an indication of strep throat, a contagious infection that needs prompt treatment.

Treatment and prevention options for a sore throat

If your sore throat is the result of a viral infection, your More MD provider can recommend home care strategies to help you feel better, such as over-the-counter pain relievers, hot tea, and plenty of rest.

Bacterial infections may require a course of antibiotics to clear the infection and prevent it from spreading. Your physician can also suggest lozenges to ease sore throat pain until your antibiotics start working.

You can also focus on preventing additional sore throats by:

Replacing your toothbrush 

Replacing your toothbrush immediately after you’ve started your recovery from an infection. Getting a new toothbrush every month is recommended to reduce your risk for sore throats and to protect your oral health.

Quit smoking

If you smoke, ask your More MD provider for help with quitting. They can provide you resources for smoking cessation programs, so you can finally quit for good.

Practice good hygiene

When you’re out and about, especially during flu season and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, be sure to keep a distance from others and wear a mask. You should also practice good hand-washing habits, washing frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and not touching your face.

For medical help with a painful sore throat, schedule an evaluation by calling the More MD office nearest you or by requesting an appointment online today.

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