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When a sore throat begins, it may feel as though you have swallowed a bit of sandpaper. However, as time passes (usually not that much) it may get worse. When this happens, your mind often goes to the million dollar question – is your sore throat a cold, strep or something even worse?

For the majority of sore throats, you will probably need to schedule a doctor’s appointment. While you can try to treat it with over-the-counter medications, this may not always be effective, depending on what has caused the issue.

Here you can learn about some of the most common causes of sore throats and when it will be time to call your doctor.

Is Your Sore Throat the Flu or a Cold?

In most cases, your sore throat is going to be the result of a virus, such as the flue or a cold. However, in other cases, you may have some other symptoms, such as fatigue, a mild fever, cough, sneezing or a stuffy or runny nose. It is often difficult to tell the difference between the flu and a cold, but the flu will usually cause much more severe symptoms, such as muscle aches and a high fever.

If your sore throat is the result of a virus, then antibiotics aren’t going to help. Instead, you will need to use over the counter treatments and gargle with warm salt water to alleviate the pain.

Is Your Sore Throat Strep?

If you have strep throat, this is an infection that results from bacteria. Some of the most common symptoms of strep throat include fever, swollen lymph nodes in your neck, white patches on your tonsils and throat pain. In most cases, when you have strep throat, you won’t have a cough or runny nose.

While anyone is susceptible to strep throat, it is most commonly seen in children between the ages of five and 15. Only 10 percent of sore throats in adults are the result of strep.

Is Your Sore Throat the Result of Something You Ate?

If the acid in your stomach moves up and into your esophagus, which is the tube that carries your food from your mouth to your stomach, then your throat may become irritated and sore. This condition is referred to as acid reflux, which is one of the most overlooked causes of sore throats.

If you feel fine, besides the soreness in your throat, and don’t have a fever, then your problem may be acid reflux. There are several medications that can help alleviate this issue. In addition to a sore throat, you may also be suffering a dry cough, feel like you have a lump in your throat and have issues swallowing.

If you do suffer from acid reflux, then your doctor may suggest that you make a few lifestyle changes, such as switching to a high protein, low-fat diet, or limiting your intake of coffee and alcohol.

If you have a sore throat, the best thing you can do is see your doctor. They will be able to evaluate your condition and determine the underlying cause of the pain. This will also ensure that you get a treatment that is effective and helps to alleviate the pain you are feeling.

If you need to schedule an appointment for a sore throat, then contact the staff at the office of Joshua P. Light MD by calling (561) 734-8584 to schedule an appointment.