What’s the Reason Behind Your Sore Throat?
You hit the hay at a decent hour and wake up with a sore throat. It only hurts a little bit at first, but it’s enough to make you nervous. After all, you don’t want to accidentally make other people sick.
Is it a cold, strep throat or something harmless? Should you stay home? Get it checked out through telehealth? And how can you prevent a sore throat in the future?
Is Sore Throat the Same as Strep Throat?
In a word, no. Sore throat and strep throat are not the same thing. Of course, a sore throat may indicate strep, but sore throat has many causes. Besides, you can have strep without experiencing any throat pain. What’s causing your sore throat, then?
Anything that irritates your throat can cause pain, from soreness when swallowing to mild discomfort to a burning sensation in your throat. are often at the root of a sore throat. Cold and flu viruses are common culprits, as are strep and mononucleosis. Any time your throat hurts due to infection, stay away from people. You may spread the illness.
However, you may have a sore throat for another reason. In these cases, you’re safe around other people, as your sore throat is not contagious. Non-viral causes of sore throat include the following:
- Allergic reaction to molds, pets or pollens
- Breathing through your mouth while sleeping
- Cigarette smoking or exposure to pollution
Other Symptoms to Expect
Sore throat is often experienced with other unwanted symptoms. Depending on the cause of your sore throat, you may experience some or all of the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain and vomiting (most often in children)
- Runny nose
- Skin rash
- Swollen tonsils or neck glands
- White spots on the throat or tonsils
If it becomes difficult to breathe or you have joint pain or swelling, blood in your saliva or other extreme symptoms, see your doctor. It may be related to a serious condition that needs immediate attention.
How to Prevent a Sore Throat (or Cold)
No matter the reasons for your sore throat, throat pain is never fun to experience. Fortunately, a little prevention goes a long way toward protecting against sore throat.
By using common-sense hygiene, you can avoid many viruses that cause a sore throat. Wash your hands regularly and keep your distance from people who are currently sick. If you smoke, quit. And avoid secondhand smoke as much as possible.
Tired of allergy-related sore throat? Learn your allergens and avoid them. Keep your home clean and be aware of when plants you’re allergic to are in bloom. And whatever you do, don’t stick your finger in your nose or eyes.
Wondering what’s causing your sore throat? Schedule an appointment with your primary care provider or find an Express Clinic near you.