An irritated or sore throat is a common symptom of colds and allergies. But sometimes, a sore throat can mean something more serious is going on, especially if your throat pain worsens.
At Primary Care Walk-In Medical Clinic, our primary care physicians offer on-site exams and diagnostic tests to identify what’s causing your sore throat. Our providers recommend that you seek medical attention for a sore throat that persists for more than a few days or for throat pain that increases, even with home care.
What your sore throat may be telling you
When you have a cold, excess mucus from your sinuses can drain down into your throat, irritating the tissues and making them sore. Typically, sore throats from colds, the flu, or mild allergies resolve within a day or two if you’re drinking plenty of fluids and getting rest.
You can also experience a temporary sore throat at an event like a concert where you talk or sing loudly. This can strain the muscles in your throat and give you a sore throat the following day.
Other causes of a sore throat can include:
You may not even realize you’ve been exposed to environmental irritants until your throat becomes sore. Household cleaners, secondhand smoke, and air pollution can all irritate the lining of your throat and make it feel sore.
Dry air outside or inside your home can also affect your throat tissues and lead to soreness and irritation.
Strep throat infection
A persistent sore throat can indicate that you have an infection, such as strep throat. This type of bacterial infection is contagious and can cause great discomfort.
It’s important that you consult with our physicians if you have significant throat pain or if you can see white patches at the back of your throat. We can confirm an infection through a simple throat swab test.
Typically, antibiotic treatment clears the infection and relieves throat soreness in a few days. The medications also lower the risk that you’ll spread the infection to others.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
GERD is a chronic acid reflux condition where the acids in your stomach flow back up into your esophagus and mouth. Muscles that typically close after you swallow food and liquids become weak with age and strain and can’t keep acids in place.
The frequent backflow of acids irritates the lining of your esophagus and causes a sore throat. Acids can also damage tissue, increasing your risk for cancer. For this reason, you shouldn’t put off a throat exam if your acid reflux/GERD symptoms trigger a sore throat.
If you’re not sure whether you need medical attention for a sore throat, you can visit Primary Care Walk-In Clinic as a walk-in without an appointment for a comprehensive evaluation. Putting off an exam can lead to complications, especially if you have an infection.
You can also schedule an appointment online or call the Primary Care Walk-In Clinic office near you today.