What Causes a Sore Throat?
Sore throats are one of the most common reasons for a visit to the doctor's office. There are many potential causes of sore throats, though there are a handful that come up most often.
The most common cause of a sore throat in adults and children is an infection. Both viruses and bacteria may cause infections although viruses are more common. Viruses go away on their own and treatment aims to provide some comfort while your body battles the infection. It is important to note that antibiotics don't help viral infections of any sort. Bacterial infections can also cause a sore throat. The most common bacterial throat infection is caused by Group A Streptococcus pyogenes, or 'strep.'
Strep throat requires antibiotic treatment both to help the throat heal up faster and to prevent rare but serious complications from strep such as acute rheumatic fever.
Aside from infection, irritation such as dry air, smoke, or chemicals may cause sore throats.
Depending on the season, allergies are another common cause of sore throats. Typically, allergies are treated with antihistamines or nasal sprays.