Sore Throat in Adults: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention


Sore Throat in Adult: A Sore Throat is a common issue and usually is caused by a bacterial or viral infection. The medical term for a Sore Throat is ‘Pharyngitis’. In adults, it typically goes away on its own without any issues, but it’s crucial to know when to seek medical help. A sore throat, as well as other upper respiratory diseases like the common cold, can be brought on by viruses. Antibiotics are not used to treat sore throats brought on by the common cold virus but instead may be treated with pain medication, rest and other therapies aimed at relieving symptoms. Group A Streptococcus (GAS) is a type of bacterium that causes Pharyngitis. Strep Throat is treated with a course of Antibiotics. 

Symptoms of Sore Throat 

Most patients who have a sore throat have viral Pharyngitis. The most common viruses are those that cause upper respiratory infections such as the common cold. Symptoms of viral infection can include:

  • Hoarseness, cough or soreness in the roof of the mouth
  • Congested or a runny nose
  • Irritation or redness of the eyes

Some viruses can make you feel quite unwell and raise your temperature. Approximately 10% of adults with a sore throat have strep throat. The following are strep throat symptoms and warning signs:

  • Fever (temperature greater than (100.4°F or 38°C)
  • Pain in the throat
  • Runny nose, no coughs or irritation and redness of the eyes. 
  • White patches of pus on the back or side of the throat
  • Enlarged lymph glands in the neck

If you have a Sore Throat along with any of the following, then contact Dr. Sheetu Singh, she recommended a treatment plan that included hydration, rest and a course of Antibiotics to address the underlying infection. 

  • Skin rash
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the tongue or neck
  • Difficulty opening the mouth or stiff neck
  • drooling due to difficulty swallowing 
  • medicine or underlying condition that may be affecting your immune system

Sore Throat Diagnosis 

Most people with a Sore Throat get Finer without treatment. The typical cold viruses that cause Sore Throat do not have a specific treatment. 

1. Is it strep or not- A combination of symptoms (enlarged glands in the neck, fever, no cough and white patches on your tonsils) can help in determining if you have Strep. A quick test or throat culture may be conducted if you exhibit two or more symptoms. 

Your doctor may review the symptoms and medical history. She or he may conduct a physical exam that includes:

  • examining the throat with a lighted device and, most likely, the ears and nasal passages.
  • Checking for swollen Lymph nodes by gently rubbing the neck. 
  • Listening to your or your kids breathing with a Stethoscope

2. Throat Swab

In many cases, Dr. Sheetu Singh uses a simple test to detect Streptococcal bacteria, the cause of strep throat. To obtain a sample of the patient’s secretions, the doctor uses a sterile swab on the back of the throat. The sample is subsequently delivered to a lab for examination. 

Rapid antigen tests are less accurate, although they can swiftly identify strep bacteria. As a result, if the antigen test is negative, the doctor may send a throat culture to a lab for strep throat testing. In some cases, a molecular test may be used by doctors to find Streptococcal bacteria. A Sterile Swab is used in this test to collect a sample of secretions from the back of the throat. 

Treatment of Sore Throat  

A viral illness that causes a sore throat typically lasts five to seven days and doesn’t require medical attention. Antibiotics don’t help treat a viral infection. To ease fever and pain, many people turn to Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or other mild pain relievers. If your child is experiencing discomfort, you might want to give them over-the-counter pain relievers made specifically for babies or kids, such as acetaminophen (Children’s Tylenol, FeverAll, etc.) or Ibuprofen (Children’s Advil, Children’s Motrin, etc.) to help them feel better. 

Never give Aspirin to teenagers or children because it has been linked to Reye’s syndrome, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition that causes swelling in the brain and liver. 

Treating bacterial infections :

If a bacterial infection is the root cause of your or your child’s sore throat, your doctor or pediatrician will recommend Antibiotics. If the symptoms have vanished, you must still complete the entire course of Antibiotics as directed. If the treatment is not taken completely as prescribed the illnesses may worsen or spread to other areas of the body. Also not completing the full course of Antibiotics to treat Strep Throat can increase a child’s risk of Rheumatic fever or serious kidney inflammation. 

How to Prevent Sore Throat 

Here are some ways to avoid getting that scratchy, raw, burning feeling at the back of your throat. Additionally, take the following precautions to prevent the flu and colds which frequently result in sore throat:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Stay away from individuals who are sick
  • Dont share a drink, food or utensils
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Keep your hands away from your face and eyes
  • Drink lots of fluids
  • Get plenty of rest


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Dr. Sheetu Singh, a nationally renowned pulmonologist, Director ILD & Pulmonary Rehab Clinic, is an expert in chest-related conditions. She got her training from SMS Medical College, Jaipur followed by a visit to Cleveland Clinic, USA.

Contact Info

Address: Mahavir Jaipuriya Rajasthan Hospital Milap Nagar, JLN Marg, Jaipur

Mobile: (+91)-8696666380


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