Types & Treatments
Authors: Manuel Kassardjian, Pharmacy Student and Eric D.Griggs, M.D.
Being sick is hard, especially when you
have a sore throat. The scientific term for
a sore throat is “acute pharyngitis.” Most
sore throats are caused by viruses or allergies.
6-8 Scratchiness, pain and difficulty
swallowing are all telltale signs of a sore
throat. Sometimes a sore throat can also
show signs of a fever.2,5,8 Viral sore throats
will generally clear in a few days and do not
One of the rare types of sore throat
that needs an antibiotic occurs due
to a group of bacteria called Group A
Streptococcus.3-4 Finding out if you have
a sore throat can be done in 10 minutes
using a throat swab at your physician’s
There are rinses, lozenges and sprays
designed to help numb or soothe a sore
throat. In a pinch, any hard candy will also
provide some relief. Note that children
less than 4 years old should not take
throat lozenges or hard candies due to
risk of choking.2,6
Adults may use acetaminophen, ibuprofen
or aspirin for relief of pain and fever.
Children may use acetaminophen or
ibuprofen. Check with your pharmacist
for the correct dosage and product.2
Gargling a warm salt rinse (1/2 teaspoonful
of salt per 1 cup of water) throughout
the day and drinking hot liquids such as
tea can also provide relief.1,8 Make sure
to get enough rest whenever possible. If
your sore throat doesn’t get better after a
few days, or if you have a fever, make sure
to see your doctor.
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In conjunction with the
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1. Dao V-A, Overhagen S, Bilstein A, Kolot C, Sonnemann U, Mösges R. Ectoine lozenges in the treatment
of acute viral pharyngitis: a prospective, active-controlled clinical study. European Archives of
Oto-Rhino-Laryngology. 2019;276(3):775-783. doi:10.1007/s00405-019-05324-9.
2. Diagnosis and treatment. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sore-throat/
diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351640?p=1. Accessed July 4, 2019.
3. Kenealy T. Sore throat. BMJ clinical evidence. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/
PMC3948435/. Published March 4, 2014. Accessed July 4, 2019.
4. Luo, R., Sickler, J., Vahidnia, F., Lee, Y.-C., Frogner, B., & Thompson, M. (2019). Diagnosis and
Management of Group a Streptococcal Pharyngitis in the United States, 2011-2015. BMC Infectious
Diseases, 19(1), 193. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-019-3835-4
5. Müller D, Lindemann T, Shah-Hosseini K, et al. Efficacy and tolerability of an ectoine mouth and
throat spray compared with those of saline lozenges in the treatment of acute pharyngitis and/or laryngitis:
a prospective, controlled, observational clinical trial. European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology.
6. Palm J, Fuchs K, Stammer H, Schumacher-Stimpfl A, Milde J. Efficacy and safety of a triple active
sore throat lozenge in the treatment of patients with acute pharyngitis: Results of a multi-centre,
randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel-group trial (DoriPha). International Journal of
Clinical Practice. 2018;72(12). doi:10.1111/ijcp.13272.
7. Sore Throat | Pharyngitis | Sore Throat Causes. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/sorethroat.html.
Published February 7, 2019. Accessed July 4, 2019.
8. UpToDate. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/sore-throat-in-adults-beyond-the-basics. Accessed July
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