Sore throats are most commonly seen in patients who have a cold. Patients with a sore throat can feel pain or scratchiness in the throat, and pain tends to worsen with talking and swallowing. The voice may be hoarse or muffled, and the patient might have swollen glands in the neck or jaw. The tonsils could swell, and they may have white patches on them. Most sore throats associated with viral infections last for five to seven days, and over-the-counter pain relievers and anesthetic or menthol lozenges can help relieve throat pain. It may help to gargle with salt water as well.
Adults should see a doctor if a sore throat persists for more than seven days, especially if it occurs in conjunction with a fever. It is also important to see a doctor for sore throats accompanied by difficulties with opening the mouth, swallowing, or breathing. After examining the throat, ears and nasal passages with a lighted instrument, the doctor may need to swab the throat to rule out bacterial causes for the soreness. They might use a stethoscope to listen to the patient's breathing, and it may also be necessary to check for swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
Uncover more symptoms as they apply to either the common cold or the flu now.