What is Your Sore Throat Trying to Tell You?

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A sore throat is a symptom of many diseases, illnesses, and conditions. Finding out the reason for your sore throat can help you clear it sooner. Some may require a doctor’s visit; others only need a touch of TLC.

Viral Infection (Cold/Flu)

One of the first signs of a cold or flu is an itchy, scratchy throat. The flu tends to hit people harder than a cold, keeping you out of commission for a longer amount of time. But treating a sore throat from either a cold or a flu is the same. Drink lots of water and take some Tylenol for the swelling and pain. It’s also important to stay home and rest; this will help your body fight off the virus sooner and protect others. 

Bacterial Infection (Strep)

If you have strep throat, you’ll notice that the back of your mouth is inflamed with tiny white dots. This infection requires antibiotics, so a trip to the doctor’s office and a throat swab is necessary. After 24-48 hours on antibiotics, you should start to feel better. Make sure that you don’t share drinks with other people during this period and cover your mouth when you cough. Strep throat is contagious!

Post-nasal Drip

If you have a stuffy nose, sleeping on your back can cause the mucus to drip down the back of your head where it can irritate your throat. That can cause you to wake up with a sore, dry throat. You’ll need to address the reason for your stuffy or runny nose in order to get rid of this type of sore throat.

Acid Reflux

Whether it is heartburn or acid reflux, stomach acid bubbling up into your esophagus can irritate your throat. If this is a common occurrence, you’ll want to see a doctor to make sure the stomach acid isn’t damaging your esophagus and throat. However, if you get heartburn from eating certain foods, it might be best to just avoid them. 


Allergies make your nose run and this can cause post-nasal drip, which can also lead to a sore throat. Take some over-the-counter (OTC) medications to help with the symptoms. If your allergies are due to dust, pets or food, try to clean up or avoid them. If you’re not sure what’s causing your allergies, you should see a doctor who can refer you to an allergy specialist. 

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