Determining the Cause of Your Sore Throat

in Tuscaloosa, AL

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Determining the Cause of Your Sore Throat

A sore throat is a common annoyance that comes with many different illnesses. Determining the cause of your sore throat is essential to receiving the proper treatment, so how can you tell the difference between common sore throat causes? Here, we will take a look at common causes of a sore throat and how to tell the difference!

Common Cold

A sore or scratchy throat is often the first sign that you’re catching the common cold! A sore throat from a cold often only last a day or two and then resolves. your sore throat might also be accompanied by other cold symptoms such as a runny nose and congestion. A sore throat from the common cold should resolve on its own with proper rest and at home remedies.

Strep Throat

When you have a sore throat caused by strep throat, it can start out just like a sore throat from a cold, however, it won’t go away after a few days and will continue to worsen. Strep throat is more common in children and young teens, but can occur in adults as well. You might experience other symptoms such as painful swallowing, red tonsils with white spots, and fever. A doctor can diagnose your sore throat cause with a rapid test by swabbing the back of the throat and testing it for streptococcus bacteria. If the test comes back positive for strep bacteria, an antibiotic will be required for treatment or your sore throat.


A sore throat from tonsillitis is caused by an infection of the tonsils. This can result in a severe sore throat with red and swollen tonsils. In some cases, white or pus-filled spots might appear on the tonsils as well. Other symptoms that you might experience are coughing, headache, swollen and painful lymph nodes, and changes in the voice. Tonsillitis can be the result of a viral cold or flu. In this case, symptoms may be milder and should resolve in a few days. If your sore throat from tonsillitis is caused by a bacterial infection like strep, you might experience more severe symptoms that require an antibiotic to treat.

When to see a Doctor

Since a sore throat from a cold, strep throat, and tonsillitis can appear to be very similar, a trip to your doctor can help properly determine the cause. If your sore throat is mild, you may want to wait and see if it resolves on its own. However, if your sore throat is persistent (lasting longer than four days) or is more severe, you should see a doctor for treatment.

If you are in the Tuscaloosa area, you can contact our office for more information or to schedule an appointment with an ENT specialist. We can give you a proper diagnosis and treatment plan so you won’t have to suffer from an annoying sore throat any longer!

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