Tag Archives: tonsillitis

What Could be Causing Your Sore Throat? (Part 1)

We’ve all had a troublesome sore throat at some point in time and wondered if we should visit a doctor or if it will go away on its own. Sometimes a sore throat resolves itself, like in the case of a viral cold, but other times medication or other treatment is necessary to help it pass. The most common viral and bacterial causes of a sore throat include:

  1. Tonsillitis means inflamed tonsils. Tonsillitis can be caused by bacteria or more commonly, viruses. There are different treatments available for this affliction, depending on the type and severity of a person’s tonsillitis. If someone gets recurrent bacterial tonsillitis that doesn’t seem to respond well to antibiotics, they may be good candidates for a tonsillectomy, surgical removal of the problematic tonsils.

  2. A viral cold – Viral sore throats are usually accompanied by other head-cold symptoms such as a runny nose, congestion, watery eyes and sneezing. This type of sore throat will pass after a week or so. Antibiotics will not help a viral cold, it is irresponsible to take or prescribe antibiotics for a known virus as it contributes to antibiotic resistance. Plenty of rest, OTC cold medications and home remedies like drinking honey lemon tea may help ease symptoms.

  3. A bacterial cold – Though it is less common than a viral cold, sometimes certain bacteria are responsible for a cold, flu or bout of tonsillitis or bronchitis. All these ailments can produce a sore throat. Your doctor will be able to determine what type of sore throat you have and prescribe any necessary antibiotic treatment.

  4. Strep throat is a more persistent and severe type of sore throat that is caused by streptococcus bacteria and requires medical treatment to get better. Strep throat can also lead to more serious complications such as rheumatic fever if left untreated. Your doctor will usually be able to see signs of strep such as red and white blotchy patches in the back of the throat, but will do a rapid strep test to find out for sure and then administer medication accordingly.
  5. Mononucleosis – Also known as “mono”, this contagious condition often presents as a cold for the first week, but the symptoms persist and include swollen lymph nodes, a very sore throat and fatigue. The condition itself doesn’t usually cause many issues and can be resolved with medication, however if medical attention is not sought, there can be life-threatening complications such as an enlarged spleen that may rupture, liver problems or myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle.

Stay tuned next for other causes of sore throats like allergies and other conditions. Thanks for visiting DocChat! Remember, our board certified doctors are around 24/7/365 if you have any questions about sore throats!