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Sore Throat

A mild sore throat is pain, itchiness, or irritation in your throat. You may have ear pain and find it hurts to swallow. Many sore throats are caused by viral infections.


Most sore throats are caused by a viral infection, including the common cold or flu. Other viruses include mononucleosis, measles or chicken pox. Bacterial infections like strep throat (Streptococcus pyogenes), diphtheria or whooping cough can cause a sore throat. Allergens like mold, pet dander, pollen or cigarette smoke can also cause a sore throat.


Symptoms of a sore, irritated throat vary depending on the severity and can include:

  • Hoarse voice
  • Dry throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Swelling in your jaw or neck
  • Coughing
  • Tonsils may be swollen and/or may have white spots or pus on them

Other non-throat related symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Runny nose and sneezing
  • Stomach pains


If the sore throat is bacterial, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to eliminate the infection. 

If the sore throat is from a virus, your doctor may prescribe medications like pain relievers and decongestants to ease your symptoms.

Some sore throats can be treated at home, depending on the cause. Home remedies for sore throat pain include:

  • Gargling with salt water
  • Drinking warm fluids like soup, tea, and water
  • Avoiding allergens like smoke or pet dander
  • Taking throat lozenges
  • Reducing inflammation with ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol)

Should I go to Indigo?

If you’ve had a sore throat for several days that isn’t getting better, with or without other symptoms of minor illness, Indigo can diagnose your symptoms and recommend treatment. All of our clinics offer rapid strep testing, giving you results within minutes. 

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should seek treatment from your nearest emergency department instead:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • A fever over 101°F
  • Joint pain
  • A rash
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bloody mucus
  • A lump in the throat

Come on in!

If you need a sports physical, we recommend scheduling an in-person appointment at any of our Indigo Urgent Care locations.

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