During the lifetime everyone has suffered at least once from sore throat and knows how unpleasant this affection is. Sore throat refers to an inflammation of the pharynx and sometimes of the tonsils and this way it was named as pharyngitis or tonsillitis.

A normal sore throat gives the symptoms of a common cold or flu and lasts for about 3 days. If the patient coughs it will make the disease last longer as it causes another irritation on the throat.

If the symptoms of the sore throat last longer than 3 days the patient is advised to go to a doctor to see exactly if a laryngitis is not present. Sore throat can be also encountered in measles, glandular fever, mumps, chicken pox and whooping cough. These affections are caused by a virus and are highly contagious.

A sore throat can be caused by a virus or by a bacterium. This means that the antibiotic treatment is effective and will be prescribed only for the cases caused by bacteria as viruses are known to be immune to antibiotic drugs. In the first days of sore throat the patient is infectious to others as he can spread the germs by saliva, by kissing, sneezing or coughing. The symptoms of a sore throat are: fever, coughing, headaches, painful red throat, and swollen lymph glands.

Many sore throats are caused by viruses like those responsible for common cold or flu. They are more frequent during winter as we stay indoors, closer to other people. After such a sore throat the immune system is weakened and a bacterial sore throat can easily install. There is no treatment for viral sore throats but symptoms can be managed with cough syrup or over the counter pain relievers. After a few days of rest the organism will defeat the virus infection and the patient will get better.

If the patient has a bacterial sore throat antibiotic drugs will be recommended as they are the only ones who can fight properly the bacterium. The most frequent bacterium responsible for the sore throat is streptococcus group A. In most of the cases cause by streptococcus fever is encountered and cough or other cold symptoms are missing. In some cases the bacterial infection can lead to tonsillitis or towards an ear infection.

The infection of the tonsils is recognized after its unique symptoms: red, swollen tonsils, quite frequent with pus on their surface, high fever and weakness.

Besides viral and bacterial infection, there are some other factors which can cause a sore throat: smoking, pollution, allergies, shouting and coughing, and changes in the local temperature (going out from warm to very cold).

In order to diagnose the sore throat the doctor will first perform a physical examination of the throat and then will swab the back of the throat and sent that sample to the laboratory to see what kid of infection is there: a bacterial or a viral infection.

If the patient has a sore throat which is caused by a viral infection then the doctor will prescribe a pain reliever and will recommend the patient to drink warm liquids like tea or soup and to rest for a few days.

If the patient has a sore throat caused by a bacterium then the doctor will prescribe antibiotic drugs along with pain relievers for the throat.

In order for the patient to cure fast smoking has to be avoided along with alcohol and warm liquids have to be drunk.