Three Common Causes of a Sore Throat
Published July 12, 2012
A sore throat may be due to several factors, including viruses, bacteria and
environmental irritants, and each one affects the throat for a different amount of time.
Sore Throat Cause #1: Viral throat infections
A viral infection is the most common cause of a sore throat. There is no specific treatment, as
antibiotics are not effective. A sore throat due to a viral infection will usually resolve within a week to ten days and further complications are uncommon. Always seek the advice of a healthcare professional if you are experiencing extreme discomfort, difficulty breathing or swallowing, or if symptoms do not improve with self care.1
Sore Throat Cause #2: Bacterial throat infections
Symptoms of a bacterial sore throat usually resolve within one week. However, if you experience
other symptoms such as skin rash, fever, headache, nausea or difficulty swallowing, it is important to see your healthcare practitioner for treatment. This is because certain bacterial infections, if left untreated, may cause further health complications. Once you have begun treatment, a bacterial sore throat should begin to feel better within 24‐48 hours.2
Sore Throat Cause #3: Exposure to Environmental Irritants
Irritants in the environment, such as perfumes, petrol fumes, cigarette smoke, or chlorine may all be sore throat causes.
Cigarette smoke is one of the most common environmental allergens and contains many chemicals,
irritants and gases. Exposure to cigarette smoke indoors or in a building with poor ventilation
significantly increases the amount of toxins in the air. A sore throat caused by environmental factors will usually subside once the person minimises their exposure to the causative irritant.3
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