|Viral pharyngitis, the most common cause of a sore throat.|
Sore throat, also known as throat pain, is pain or irritation of the throat. It is usually caused by pharyngitis (inflammation of the throat), tonsillitis (inflammation of the tonsils), or dehydration, which leads to the throat drying up. It can also result from trauma.
About 7.5% of people have a sore throat in any three-month period.
A sore throat is the pain felt anywhere in the throat.
A sore throat is usually from irritation or inflammation. The most common cause (80%) is acute viral pharyngitis, a viral infection of the throat. Other causes include other infections (such as streptococcal pharyngitis), trauma, and tumors. Gastroesophageal (acid) reflux disease can cause stomach acid to back up into the throat and also cause the throat to become sore. In children, streptococcal pharyngitis is the cause of 37% of sore throats.
Pain medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and paracetamol (acetaminophen) help in the management of pain. The use of corticosteroids seems to increase the likelihood of resolution and reduce the level of pain.[needs update] Antibiotics shorten the duration of pain symptoms by an average of about one day. It is not known whether antibiotics are effective for preventing recurrent sore throat.
There is an old wives tale that having a hot drink can help with common cold and influenza symptoms, including sore throat, but there is only limited evidence to support this idea. If the sore throat is unrelated to a cold and is caused by for example tonsillitis, a cold drink may be helpful.
There are also other medications like lozenges which can help people to cope with a sore throat.
Without active treatment, symptoms usually last two to seven days.
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