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Sore throats

A scratchy, irritated or sore throat can be caused by viruses, bacteria, smoking, allergies and breathing polluted air.

Tonsillitis and strep throat

When you have tonsillitis, your tonsils become swollen and painful because of an infection. The infection can be caused by either bacteria or a virus.

Strep throat is caused by bacteria. It can lead to serious complications if it isn’t treated.

The symptoms of tonsillitis and strep throat include:

  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • White patches in your throat or on your tonsils
  • Pain when you swallow
  • Red, swollen tonsils
  • Sore, swollen glands in your jaw and throat
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting


Mono is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. Symptoms of mono include:

  • A sore throat that lasts one to 4 weeks
  • Swollen glands in your neck and armpits
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue


If your sore throat is caused by a bacterial infection, your doctor might prescribe antibiotics. But if it is caused by a viral infection, antibiotics won’t help. Try these things to make your throat feel better:

  • Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve pain
  • Gargle with warm salt water (1 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water)
  • Suck on throat lozenges or hard candy
  • Suck on popsicles
  • Use a humidifier in your bedroom and in any other room you spend a lot of time in
  • Drink plenty of liquids

Our Physicians

Rex ENT Specialists can help you with your sore throat. Dr. John A. Garside, M.D., specializes in treating ear, nose and throat disorders in adults and children.


To learn more about sore throats, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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