If you’ve got an itchy, scratchy or sore throat in Lexington, you may be coming down with a cold. In most cases, your discomfort will clear up in a couple of days. But sometimes, a sore throat can be an indicator of a more serious condition such as strep throat or tonsillitis. Understanding what is causing your sore throat and knowing when to seek treatment can help lessen the severity and lead to a quicker recovery.
Symptoms of a Sore Throat
If you’ve got a sore throat, you might be wondering why “symptoms” is plural. Throat pain isn’t the only symptom associated with a sore throat, however. A sore throat in Lexington might be accompanied by a multitude of additional symptoms including scratchiness, hoarseness, dryness, difficulty swallowing, swollen neck or jaw glands and inflamed tonsils.
So, what’s causing that sore throat? Most often it’s a virus, typically the cold or flu. These types of sore throats resolve on their own within a few days. If your sore throat is accompanied by the following symptoms, it may be more serious than a viral infection:
- Fever (101 F or higher)
- Runny nose
- Muscle and joint pain
- Nausea and vomiting
Strep throat is a more serious infection caused by the streptococcus bacterium. It is difficult to distinguish between strep throat and a garden-variety sore throat; in general, symptoms of strep throat come on more quickly and are more severe. Your throat may be especially raw, and swallowing is likely to be quite painful. Strep throat may be accompanied by a fever of 101 or higher and you might notice small red spots in the back of the throat. Swollen lymph nodes are common.
Tonsillitis is another common ailment distinguished by a sore throat. It is most common in children and occurs when an infection spreads to the tonsils. Additional symptoms of tonsillitis include fever, chills, earache, stomachache, neck stiffness, bad breath, headache, and white or yellow spots on the tonsils.
Because it’s hard to tell what is causing a sore throat, if symptoms don’t clear up in a few days it’s best to schedule an appointment with a Lexington ear, nose and throat specialist for a medical evaluation. Treatment will depend upon the underlying condition causing your pain, and the severity of your symptoms.