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Brockport / Health Center / Common Ailments / Sore Throat

Sore Throat

What causes a sore throat?

  • Sore throats or pharyngitis can be caused by many things.
    • Viruses: these can be simple colds or viruses that cause other diseases such as mono.
    • Bacteria: these infections are caused by specific strains of bacteria. They cause infections such as “strep throat” and can be treated with antibiotics.
    • Allergies: people with allergies can often have a sore throat that can last for weeks.
    • Irritation: these can be from substances such as cigarette smoke, dry air, or straining your voice.
    • Reflux: this is sometimes referred to as heartburn. It is cause by some of the stomach acids coming back up the esophagus and irritating the throat.


  • Take over the counter pain relievers such as Tylenol or Advil.
  • Gargle with warm salt water.
  • Suck on hard throat lozenges, candy or cough drops.
  • Eat frozen desserts such as popsicles.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Many people drink warm tea with honey.
  • Humidify your room as needed.


  • Wash your hands frequently!
  • Do not share food, drinking glasses, dishes, or utensils.
  • Avoid things that you know may aggravate your allergies, such as cats.

When to see a provider for your sore throat:

  • A sore throat lasts longer than a week
  • A sore throat is severe and you are having trouble swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty opening your mouth
  • Joint pain
  • An earache
  • A rash
  • Fever > 101
  • Blood in your phlegm
  • Hoarseness that lasts over 2 weeks

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Last Updated 5/21/12


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