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What Causes a Sore Throat?

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Updated October 12, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: What Causes a Sore Throat?
There are many different causes of a sore throat, ranging from inflammation caused by such conditions as acid reflux, to infections and abnormal growths. The following are some causes of a sore throat:
Answer:

Strep Infection

Strep throat causes redness, swelling and pain. If you have a sore throat, your doctor will often test you for strep by swabbing a Q-tip along the back of your throat. Strep throat is treated with antibiotics. For more information, please read:

The Common Cold

There are more than 200 viruses that are responsible for the common cold, and many cause the symptoms of a sore throat. Because the common cold is caused by a virus, and these viruses are constantly mutating, there is no cure. There is also no single test to determine if one of these viruses are the cause of your sore throat. For more information, please read:

Sinus Infections and Chronic Post-Nasal Drip

Sinus infections (also called sinusitis) can cause a sore throat, as can chronic post nasal drip. Post nasal drip feels like a runny nose in the back of your throat and can be caused by sinusitis, allergies, upper respiratory infections and pregnancy. For more information, please read:
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  4. ENT Disorders A - Z
  5. ENT Disorders: S - U
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