It’s not uncommon to experience a sore throat when you have a cold or the flu.  Unfortunately, there are other reasons for sore throats that may be symptomatic of more serious problems. Children tend to have sore throats more often than adolescents or adults, with sore throats being the most common during the winter months when upper respiratory infections are more frequent. 
Sore throat, or pharyngitis, is a painful inflammation of the pharynx, which is the part of the throat that lies between the mouth and the voice box.  The major cause of a sore throat is an infection, whether it is viral or bacterial.  Additionally, sore throats can be caused by allergies, sinus congestion and environmental conditions—with springtime being the worst for allergy symptoms.  If you have a sore throat that lasts for more than five to seven days, you should visit our local Lafayette, CA ENT for diagnosis and treatment.  

When to Visit Our ENT in Lafayette, CA

Whenever a sore throat is severe, persists longer than the typical five to seven day duration of a cold or flu, and is not associated with an avoidable allergy or irritation, it is important to seek medical attention.  The following are signs and symptoms to alert you to visit our office:
  • Severe and prolonged sore throat
  • Sinus congestion
  • Nasal congestion or blockage
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty opening the mouth
  • Joint pain
  • Earache
  • Rash
  • Fever that is over 101 degrees
  • Frequently recurring sore throat
  • Lump in neck
  • Hoarseness lasting over two weeks

Strep Throat

Strep throat is a contagious disease that is caused by infection with streptococcal bacteria. Some of the symptoms of strep throat include fever, pain, redness, and swelling of the throat and tonsils.  The symptoms can be mild or severe and is most common among school-aged children and teens.  The bacteria are present in the nose and throat, so normal activities such as sneezing, coughing, or shaking hands can spread the infection to other people. 
Additionally, the infection can be acquired by touching objects such as books, tables, or other hard surfaces that were handled by an infected person.  The majority of sore throat cases are caused by viruses and are not strep throat.  Viral sore throats generally do not need treatment, as they improve on their own.  

Inflamed Tonsils and Adenoids

Your tonsils, found at the back of your throat, are part of your body’s immune system.  Sometimes bacteria will invade their territory and cause your tonsils to get infected and become swollen, inflamed and enlarged.  Often, your adenoids, which sit near the tonsils in the throat, will become swollen as well.  
Anyone, regardless of age, can fall victim to a viral infection causing their tonsils and adenoids to swell.  However, these infections occur more often in children, but rarely in kids younger than two.  There are several symptoms that go along with swollen tonsils and adenoids including:
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Chills and fever
  • Inflamed, enlarged and engorged tonsils and adenoids
  • Tender and enlarged lymph nodes in the neck and jaw area
  • Respiratory problems
  • Headaches
  • Runny nose and nasal congestion
  • Sinus congestion
  • Severe sore throat
At the first onset of a sore throat it is always important to monitor the progress and recognize any other symptoms that may accompany the sore throat, causing it to worsen into strep throat, inflamed tonsils, or laryngitis.  Contact our office if you are experiencing a sore throat that won’t go away.  Our ENT in Lafayette will help diagnose and treat your symptoms.