Sore throat, also known by the medical term pharyngitis, is in most cases caused by a viral infection like a common cold or flu. Viral infection of the throat usually do not require particular treatment or visit to the doctor’s office, they just need time to go away. Over-the-counter medication can help relieve symptoms until the illness is gone.
Most common causes of sore throat
Virus infections are the main causes of sore throat, particularly in the winter or colder seasons. Less commonly, the cause is a bacterial infection. Both viruses and bacteria enter the body through contact with an infected person, directly or indirectly, through objects like towels, telephones, doorknobs, utensils, personal items, and similar. Viruses and bacteria can also enter the system if a person inhales the air which carries the particles when someone sneezes or coughs, which is important to always cover up the mouth when sick.
Germs spread easily in places where many people stay at the same time, like workplace, school, day care and similar. It is no surprise then that children get viral infections so often during their school age.
Most commonly, viral infections that cause sore throat are common cold, influenza and mononucleosis. Other infections that sometimes may cause sore throat, among other symptoms, are measles, chickenpox and croup.
As for the bacterial infections, those that commonly cause sore throat are strep throat, tonsillitis and diphtheria (which is rare in industrialized countries).
Viral and bacterial infections are the most common causes of sore throat, but some other diseases and conditions may cause it as well.
The same allergens that cause redness and swelling of the eyes, sneezing and itchy, runny nose, may cause sore throat as well.
Dry mouth can also lead to sore throat. During wintertime, when people spend a lot of time indoors, where the air is warm and dry, causes dryness of the mouth with a feeling of scratchiness and irritation, especially in the morning. Nasal congestion is also common during winter and they cause people to breathe trough their mouth, which can cause dry and sore throat.
Irritation is another factor for sore throat. It can be caused by pollutants in the air, smoking, second-hand smoke, alcohol, and spicy food.
Muscle strain, for example after shouting, yelling or singing loudly, can cause hoarse voice and sore throat.
Other factors and causes may include GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease), HIV/AIDS and tumors in mouth, throat and vocal box.