A sore throat can be caused by a virus or a bacterial infection. It is also called pharyngitis, which means inflammation of the pharynx (the back of the throat). The most common cause of a sore throat is a virus like a cold, the flu or glandular fever. Some sore throats are caused by the bacteria Streptococcus Pyogenes. This is sometimes called a ‘strep’ throat. If bacteria are the cause, you tend to become very unwell and your infection seems to get much worse. Sometimes a sore throat can also be caused by tonsillitis or mouth ulcers.


If the sore throat is caused by a cold, you may also have a runny nose, cough, possibly fever and feel very tired.

If it’s a strep throat, other symptoms may include:

  • swollen glands in the neck
  • swollen red tonsils
  • rash
  • fever
  • tummy pain
  • vomiting

What can I do?

The good news is that there are many simple things you can do to live well with arthritis:

  • There is no way to cure a sore throat that is caused by a virus. You can just treat the symptoms with pain relief. The sore throat should clear up in 5 to 7 days. If the sore throat is caused by bacteria, you may benefit from antibiotics.
  • Along with being sore, your throat may also be scratchy and you may have difficulty swallowing. Gargling with warm, salty water or drinking hot water with honey and lemon can help.
  • Warm or iced drinks and ice blocks may also be soothing.
  • Try eating soft foods such as yoghurt, soup or ice cream.
  • stay well hydrated so drink plenty of water.
  • Keep the room at a comfortable temperature and rest and avoid heavy activity until symptoms go away.
  • Smoking or breathing in other people’s smoke can make symptoms worse. Try to avoid being around people who are smoking. If you are a smoker, try to cut down or quit.


Health Direct. (2019). Sore throat (pharyngitis). https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/sore-throat