Sore throat

Other Names:
Soreness of throat
Throat inflammation
Inflammation of pharynx
Swollen throat

Sore throat, also known as throat pain, is pain or irritation of the throat. Usually, causes of sore throat include:

viral infections group A streptococcal infection (GAS) bacterial infection pharyngitis (inflammation of the throat) tonsillitis (inflammation of the tonsils), or dehydration, which leads to the throat drying up.

The majority of sore throats are caused by a virus, for which antibiotics are not helpful. A strong association between antibiotic misuse and antibiotic resistance has been shown.

For sore throat caused by bacteria (GAS), treatment with antibiotics may help the person get better faster, reduce the risk that the bacterial infection spreads, prevent retropharyngeal abscesses and quinsy, and reduce the risk of other complications such as rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease. In most developed countries, post-streptococcal diseases have become far less common. For this reason, awareness and public health initiatives to promote minimizing the use of antibiotics for viral infections have become the focus.

Approximately 35% of childhood sore throats and 5-25% of adults sore throats are caused by a bacterial infection from group A streptococcus. Sore throats that are "non-group A streptococcus" are assumed to be caused by a viral infection. Sore throat is a common reason for people to visit their primary care doctors and the top reason for antibiotic prescriptions by primary care practitioners such as family doctors. In the United States, about 1% of all visits to the hospital emergency department, physician office and medical clinics, and outpatient clinics are for sore throat (over 7 million visits for adults and 7 million visits for children per year).

Treating sore throat
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST