There are a lot of reasons your throat may be sore and if the condition isn’t letting up, it’s time for you to schedule a diagnostic evaluation.
At Primary Care Walk-In Medical Clinic, our team of physicians provide comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services for the various causes of a sore throat. We provide some insight into why your throat might be hurting and what treatments you might need to relieve your pain.
Why your throat is sore
A sore throat is commonly the result of bacterial infection (strep throat) or viral infection (cold or flu) in your upper respiratory system.
Infections can cause irritation and dryness in your throat and if you have a persistent cough, it can worsen your throat pain. Your cold or flu might also cause postnasal drip, a situation where mucus from your sinuses repeatedly drains down into your throat.
In addition to a respiratory illness, there are other medical and environmental issues that can lead to a sore throat, such as:
- Dry air
- Air pollution
- Cigarette smoke
- Exposure to chemicals, like household cleaners
You can also develop a sore throat if you spend time talking or yelling at an event. Yelling can strain the muscles in your throat, causing soreness and pain.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition where stomach acids flow back up into your mouth, can also cause a frequent throat dryness and irritation.
When your sore throat needs medical attention
Generally, a sore throat that results from a cold or the flu is manageable with home care. You can drink warm liquids, get plenty of rest, and suck on throat lozenges to keep your throat moisturized.
If you have a sore throat but aren’t sure what’s causing it, you need to pay attention to your other symptoms. Our Primary Care Walk-In Medical Clinic team recommends visiting the clinic if you have a sore throat that doesn’t go away in a day or two or if you have symptoms, including:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Persistent cough
- Sore or swollen glands in your neck
- White patches at the back of your throat
The goals of diagnosing the underlying cause of your sore throat are to ensure you receive the right treatment to find pain relief and to identify potentially contagious infections that you can spread to others.
In addition to a physical exam of your throat, our physicians can also do a quick swab of your throat to confirm or rule out a strep infection.
Your treatment options for calming a sore throat
Treatment for a sore throat caused by strep usually involves a course of antibiotics to clear the infection. You can also use over-the-counter medications to relieve inflammation and pain in your throat. If you have allergies, you might need to take antihistamine medications to stop postnasal drip.
If your sore throat is the result of GERD, you might need acid-reducing medications to neutralize acids in your stomach. Our Primary Care Walk-In Medical Clinic team can also help you better manage GERD symptoms with lifestyle changes, weight loss, and diet improvements.
You can continue to treat your throat discomfort by drinking clear liquids and resting. Avoid cigarette smoke and other irritants in your environment that might trigger your allergies and further irritate your throat.
If you need a diagnostic evaluation for a persistent sore throat, schedule an appointment with our Primary Care Walk-In Clinic team by phone or online. You can also visit the clinic nearest you as a walk-in.