What causes a sore throat?

Thursday, February 28, 2013

By: Dr. Diane Mayland

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Sore throats are a common occurrence in patients at BayCare Clinic Ear, Nose & Throat. There are many causes of a sore throat.


Most commonly, people with an acute sore throat have a virus or bacterial infection, like strep throat. In these cases the infection involves the tonsils (tonsillitis) or the back of the throat called the pharynx (pharyngitis).


If the infection is due to bacteria (like strep) we treat with an antibiotic. With viruses, we recommend conservative care like rest, hydration, and pain relievers.


There are additional causes of a sore throat. A more chronic sore throat may be caused by reflux of stomach acid into the throat. Sometimes the tonsils develop pockets of whitish debris (cryptic tonsils) and this will cause a low grade chronic sore throat. In some patients we need to consider cancer as the cause.



Since there are so many things that can cause a sore throat, we recommend seeing a doctor for evaluation for any sore throat that lasts more than a week or if there are severe symptoms of pain, difficulty swallowing or breathing. Click here to request an appointment with a BayCare Clinic Ear, Nose & Throat provider.

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BayCare Clinic,, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.