A sore throat is quite common, when it comes to the symptoms of the disease. A sore throat can be caused by illnesses that range from non-serious to dangerous.
You may have a sore throat from the common cold. And if you’ve ever woken up with a sore throat after spending the day before cheering your heart on at a soccer game or yelling the lyrics at your favorite band’s concert, you also know that you don’t need to be sick at all. Have sore throat.
So when should you worry about a sore throat? That’s a question that was made even more urgent by the COVID-19 pandemic. A sore throat is also a common symptom of illness caused by the new coronavirus.
Do you suspect a cold? Do not ignore it
According to Brian Curtis, MD, Vice President of Clinical Specialty Services at OSF HealthCare, a sore throat alone is rarely a cause for concern. Your throat could be sore from allergies, air pollution, or overuse. It could also be due to smoking, in which case the solution is simple (QUIT). However, if a solitary sore throat persists for more than a week, you should contact your doctor.
And if you develop any other symptoms, even the mildest symptoms that you normally associate with a common cold, you should contact your doctor or get tested for COVID-19. The common cold and the virus that causes COVID-19 are the same type of virus, called coronavirus, and can cause similar symptoms.
Mild cases of COVID-19 can even seem to the average person exactly like a cold. But if you have a mild case of COVID-19, you could pass the coronavirus to someone with a worse infection. You need to make sure that you are not putting other people at risk if you have any possible symptoms of COVID-19.
“We have to be very vigilant about cold symptoms,” Dr. Curtis said. “We as a society used to look down on cold symptoms, but now we can’t look down on them. If you only have a sore throat with no other symptoms, it is less likely to be COVID-19. But with other symptoms, you may have COVID. Sore throat, cough, fever – I’d be worried about COVID.
“Having only an isolated sore throat. Only about 5-10% of COVID-19 patients will have it. They will usually have a hint of fever, loss of taste and smell, and shortness of breath.
What else could it be?
There are many other possible causes for a sore throat, says Dr. Curtis said. Have you recently gotten a new pet and now your throat hurts? It could be allergies. Here are some more tips for responding to a sore throat:
- If you also have difficulty swallowing, you should be seen by your doctor. If you experience shortness of breath, you should be evaluated. If you have a single lump on one side of your neck, it should be evaluated. (strep is bilateral swelling)
- If your cold symptoms turn out to be due to a real cold, you need some fluids and rest and should be back in a couple of days.
- If you have a sore throat with a fever, but no runny nose or cough, you may have strep throat. Check for exudate on the tonsils, a discharge caused by swollen tonsils, and tender nodules on the front of your neck. Contact your doctor.
- If your sore throat is accompanied by a low fever and extreme fatigue, it could be mononucleosis, which is more common in people in their teens and 20s. Contact your doctor.
- Influenza, another example of a coronavirus, can cause a sore throat that is usually very abrupt and is usually accompanied by body aches, fever, and headache.
The main point, according to Dr. Curtis, is that using Internet search to diagnose yourself is not the safest idea. Should contact your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your health and any symptoms you are experiencing.