Sore throats (pharyngitis) are a very common medical condition. Sore throats are most frequently caused by viral infections. The majority of sore throats heal on their own. The symptoms may be relieved with home treatments and over-the-counter medications. Sore throats that are caused by bacteria can be serious and require antibiotics.
Significant sore throats that are caused by bacteria are treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics cannot treat sore throats that are caused by viruses. Sore throats caused by viruses heal on their own. Repeated episodes of sore throats may be the sign of allergies, and a person should be evaluated by an allergist.
Am I at Risk
• You smoke or are exposed to second hand smoke.
• You are a child or teen.
• You have allergies.
• You breathe polluted air or chemicals.
• You have a lowered immune system, as with HIV, diabetes, cancer treatments, or steroid treatments.
• You have frequent sinus infections.
• You are exposed to people with a sore throat. (A sore throat can be contagious).
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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.
The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on February 16, 2022. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.