Postnasal drip

Potential causes for sore throat

Fact Checked

A sore throat is considered as one of the prevalent ailments that urges some individuals to set an appointment with a doctor. The symptoms can occur abruptly or last for weeks or even months. In some circumstances, the inflammation dissipates and then recur soon after. The exact cause of a sore throat is not always clear and if the symptoms are severe or persistent, it is best to consult a doctor.

Factors that increases the risk for sore throat

Common cold

Viruses including the common cold can lead to upper respiratory infections and typically cause a sore throat. The initial symptoms include nasal congestion and an irritated throat and then followed by sneezing, coughing and runny nose.

Oftentimes, these viruses aim for the throat and this can result to burning ulcers on the lining adjacent to the tonsils. Even if the virus does not target the throat, it can still trigger irritation due to coughing. The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), getting enough rest and increased fluids can help ease the pain and the symptoms should clear up in a few days.

Sore throat
Viruses including the common cold can lead to upper respiratory infections and typically cause a sore throat.


Sore throat is not a characteristic symptom of the flu virus, but it can still occur with the condition. Unlike with common cold that has a gradual onset, the pain in the throat linked with the flu is usually severe and abrupt. If the flu is suspected, a doctor should be consulted.


Allergies, specifically hay fever can trigger runny nose, sneezing and an irritated throat after breathing in allergens such as dust and pollen. In most cases, there is a tickling or scratching sensation instead of pain that becomes worse during the allergy season.

Irritation of the throat, cramping and itchy mouth can also be triggered by certain foods. Remember that food allergies can manifest at any age, thus it is best to set an appointment with a doctor regarding allergy testing if these symptoms occur after a meal.


Commonly called as mono, this condition is triggered by the Epstein-Barr virus and transmitted via saliva. The condition is not easy to diagnose since it can occur abruptly or gradually.

The symptoms of mononucleosis include fever, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes in the armpit and neck as well as extreme fatigue. These symptoms can fluctuate and persist anywhere from several weeks up to months.

This condition has similar symptoms with strep throat thus it is vital to consult a doctor so that a throat test is performed to confirm a diagnosis. Remember that there is no treatment for mono, but if there is intense pain in the throat, the doctor might prescribe a steroid to minimize the inflammation and allow the individual to swallow easier.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only.
If you need medical advice or help with a diagnosis contact a medical professional

  • All content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.