What to Expect When You Have a Sore Throat

Sore throats are a common reason for patients being seen at urgent care. Often they’re not serious, but simply uncomfortable. A sore throat is a common ailment that can be caused by a variety of things, such as viruses, bacteria, or environmental factors. If you are experiencing a sore throat, it is important to know what to expect so that you can get the appropriate treatment.

Causes of a Sore Throat

The first step in determining what is causing your sore throat is to look at the symptoms that you are experiencing. Most commonly, a sore throat will be accompanied by swollen or inflamed glands, redness and irritation of the throat, and pain when swallowing. Additionally, a fever may develop if your body is fighting off an infection. Depending on the cause of your sore throat, you may also experience other symptoms as well.

There are a number of possible causes for a sore throat; the most common include viruses and bacteria. Viral infections can be caused by either the common cold or the flu. Bacterial infection is usually the result of strep throat, which can occur due to poor hygiene habits or exposure to others who have it. In some cases, environmental factors such as smoke, air pollutants, allergies, or chemical irritants can lead to a sore throat as well.

Sore throats caused by cold and flu may have symptoms, such as:

  • Headache
  • Ear discomfort
  • Nasal drainage
  • Sinus pressure
  • Swollen neck glands
  • Coughing

Treating a Sore Throat

Fortunately, there are many effective treatments for a sore throat available. Around 90 percent of sore throats are not caused by bacterial infections, meaning there’s no need for antibiotics. In the winter months, sore throats may be caused by viral germs. Antibiotics are typically only used in cases of bacterial infection; otherwise over-the-counter pain relievers and decongestants can be helpful. Additionally, drinking plenty of fluids and getting plenty of rest is essential for allowing your body to fight the infection.


It’s common practice to perform a “culture” on a normal (negative) rapid strep test to further clarify if the cause is truly bacterial or not. It’s important to remember that sore throats are commonly not bacterial and won’t require antibiotics.

If you are suffering from a sore throat, we hope that this post has given you some valuable information about what to expect and how to treat it. If your symptoms persist or worsen, be sure to schedule an appointment with Family First Urgent Care for further evaluation and treatment as needed. We wish you all the best in feeling better soon! Visit www.FamilyFirstUrgentCareConroe.com for more information.