A sore throat, characterized by a painful, scratchy sensation in the back of the throat, can make swallowing or talking uncomfortable. This condition can be triggered by a range of factors including bacterial and viral infections, allergies, or even by sleeping with an open mouth. While strep throat, a bacterial infection, necessitates antibiotic treatment to avert complications, most sore throats resolve within a few days. However, if a sore throat persists for more than a week, worsens, or is accompanied by fever or swollen lymph nodes, it’s advisable to seek medical advice. Other, rarer causes of sore throat may require specialized treatment.


Depending on the underlying cause, pharyngitis indication may vary. Signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Body aches
  • Cough or sneezing.
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Hoarseness or muffled voice
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Painful when swallowing or talking
  • Pus or white patches on your tonsils
  • Runny nose
  • Sore, enlarged glands in your jaw or neck
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Tingling or soreness in the throat

If your child’s pharyngitis doesn’t go away after the first drink in the morning, take them to the healthcare provider. If they have the following signs and symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

  • Abnormal drooling, which could be a sign of difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing

If you experience a pharyngitis as an adult with any of the following related issues, consult your healthcare provider:

  • Consistently getting sore throats
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Earache
  • Fever higher than 101 F (38.3 C)
  • Having problem opening the mouth.
  • Hoarseness lasting more than two weeks.
  • Joint pain
  • Presence of blood in your saliva or phlegm
  • Rash
  • Sore throat that last more than a week.
  • Swelling in your neck or face


Sore throats can be uncomfortable and are caused by various factors ranging from infections to environmental irritants. Understanding the cause is crucial for effective treatment.

  • Viral infections: Many sore throats are the result of a viral infection, including:
    • Common cold: A frequent culprit causing throat discomfort.
    • Flu (influenza): Often accompanies body aches and fever.
    • Mono (Mononucleosis): Can lead to severe throat pain.
    • Measles: Accompanied by a characteristic rash and fever.
    • Chickenpox: Causes itchy blisters and sore throat.
    • COVID-19: Respiratory illness that can include a sore throat.
    • Croup: Known for a distinctive barking cough, primarily affects children.
  • Bacterial infections: Some sore throats stem from bacterial infections, with Streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococcus) leading to strep throat being the most common.
  • Other causes: Various other factors can lead to a sore throat, such as:
    • Allergies: Pollen, dust mites, pets, and mold can trigger allergic reactions, causing a dry and scratchy throat.
    • Tonsillitis: Inflammation of the tonsils can cause throat pain.
    • Dryness: Low humidity and mouth breathing can dry out the throat.
    • Irritants: Pollution, tobacco smoke, alcohol, and spicy foods can irritate the throat.
    • Mouth breathing: Breathing through the mouth, especially during sleep, can lead to soreness.
    • Muscle strain: Yelling or prolonged talking strains throat muscles.
    • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Acid reflux irritates the throat, leading to discomfort.
    • HIV infection: Can cause a sore throat directly or through infections like oral thrush or cytomegalovirus (CMV).
    • Tumors: Cancerous growths in the throat may cause pain and other symptoms like difficulty swallowing and hoarseness.

In rare cases, a sore throat can be a sign of a more serious condition like an abscess or epiglottitis, both of which require immediate medical attention.

Risk factors

While pharyngitis can affect everyone, several things increase your risk of getting one, such as:

  • Age: Pharyngitis are more common in children and teenagers. The most commonly seen bacterial disease associated with pharyngitis in children is strep throat, which is more common in those between the ages of 3 and 15.
  • Allergies: A pharyngitis is more likely to occur if you have seasonal allergies or persistent allergic responses to dust, molds, or pet dander.
  • Tobacco smoking: The throat can get irritated by smoking and secondhand smoke. The risk of mouth, throat, and voice box cancers is also increased by tobacco product usage.
  • Exposure to chemical irritants: Throat irritation can be brought on by airborne particles from burning fossil fuels and ordinary home chemicals.
  • Chronic sinus infections: Nasal drainage might aggravate your throat or spread an infection.
  • Close quarters: Infections caused by bacteria and viruses may proliferate in any setting where people gather including child care facilities, schools, workplaces, and aircraft.
  • Weakened immunity: If your immune system is poor, you’re more vulnerable to infections in general. Reduced immunity is frequently caused by HIV, diabetes, chemotherapeutic or steroid medication, stress, exhaustion, and poor nutrition.