Skip to Content

Sore Throat

What is it? A sore throat is an infection or irritation in your throat.

Causes: A sore throat is usually caused by an infection. It may also be caused by something around you that is bothering your throat. A sore throat is most often caused by germs like viruses or bacteria (back-teer-ee-uh). It may also be caused by allergies or irritation from smoking, or chemical fumes.

Signs and Symptoms: You may feel pain, swelling, and redness in your throat. You may also have a tickle or lump in the throat. Or, you may have a cough or swollen glands in the neck. You may have a fever or headache. People with a very bad sore throat may drool or have trouble swallowing and talking.

Care: You may need medicine to ease the pain. Acetaminophen (uh-c-tuh-min-o-fin) and ibuprofen (i-bew-pro-fin) are medicines that you can buy in the drug store. Sucking on throat lozenges and gargling with warm salt water will also lessen the pain. You may need antibiotic (an-ti-bi-ah-tik) medicine. Be sure to take all of this medicine, even after you start feeling better.

Do's and Don'ts: Don't smoke, drink alcohol, or share food or drinks with anyone.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about sore throats and how they can be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care will be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Learn more about Sore Throat

Associated drugs

Mayo Clinic Reference Guides (External)

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.