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Your guide to sore throats

A sore throat might not keep you from work, friends and family, but it can be painful, distracting and worrisome. It can also be a symptom of something else, including strep throat or COVID-19.

It’s not always easy to know when a sore throat signals something more serious, or when should you see a doctor versus treating your discomfort from home. Here are some tips on how to get to the bottom of what causes sore throats and how to ease the pain.

Why do you get a sore throat?

A sore throat is most often caused by a virus, such as the common cold and the flu, or by bacterial infections, such as strep throat. Sore throat pain can also be due to allergies, GERD, an injury, food lodged in the throat, or repetitive shouting, talking or loud singing.

Common strep throat symptoms often include:

  • Pain when swallowing
  • Fever
  • Red and swollen tonsils
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck
  • Small, red spots on the roof of the mouth

Because strep is a bacterial infection, it usually doesn’t cause a runny nose, cough or hoarseness commonly associated with viral infections. You can get a quick diagnosis at any Indigo Urgent Care clinic, all of which offer rapid strep testing and results within minutes. 

With COVID-19 in the mix this year, a sore throat may cause concern. While sometimes a symptom, there are some key indicators you may have COVID-19 vs. the flu or a cold, including loss of taste and smell, fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Playing the symptom game can be daunting. Our symptom chart helps break it down for you.

How do you get rid of a sore throat?

No matter the cause, there are several at-home remedies that will lessen sore throat pain.

  • Drink warm liquids, such as herbal tea and soup, or opt to cool off pain with popsicles or ice cream
  • Gargle with warm saltwater at least once an hour
  • Use a humidifier to alleviate throat dryness
  • Use over-the-counter throat lozenges
  • Rest vocal cords

When to see a doctor

While home remedies are often enough, there are times when sore throat pain requires medical evaluation and treatment. Visit your  nearby Indigo Urgent Care if you have:

  • Severe pain
  • A fever over 101 degrees that lasts longer than a day or two
  • Difficulty sleeping because swollen tonsils are constricting your throat
  • A red rash

You should also visit if you’re concerned your sore throat may be a symptom of coronavirus. Anyone with any symptom of COVID-19 can be  tested at Indigo Urgent Care. Tests are conducted by a medical provider in a safe, comfortable environment. We ask that you schedule an appointment in advance, if possible. 

Let Indigo ease the pain

If you’re concerned about sore throat pain, don’t take chances. All Indigo Urgent Care clinics offer a rapid strep test, so you can quickly find out if you have strep or not. Like 85 percent of urgent care centers across the country, Indigo is open seven days a week to provide the care you need, when you need it.

Our amazingly friendly medical providers are here to diagnose your condition and have you on your way to wellness in no time. 

A better way to get better.

Health care that’s friendly, easy, and centered around you.

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