A sore throat is a sign of throat infection. It can be caused by viruses, common cold or by specific types of bacteria like strep, mycoplasma or haemophilus that cause the irritation.
Viral sore throats usually accompany influenza and colds and are extremely contagious and spread quickly. Sore throats may also signal some other infections like measles, chicken pox, whooping cough and croup.
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But how do you distinguish between a cold, strep and tonsilitis? If you have a sore throat and it gets better after a day or two, it is definitely due to cold. It is usually accompanied by a runny nose, sneezing, body ache, headache, watery eyes, fever and congestion.
There is no cure for sore throat that has been caused by cold. However, there are certain ways in which you can get relief. Taking over-the-counter medication, gargling with warm water with salt added to it and drinking warm liquids and soups help to provide relief.
If the sore throat is severe and the throat continues to be sore for a long period of time, it could be an infection caused by the streptococcus bacteria and it is called a strep throat. Streptococcus is the most typical bacteria that causes sore throat.
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It is accompanied by red tonsils with white spots, loss of appetite, fever and pain in swallowing. It is a serious infection that could also damage not only the throat, but the heart valves and kidneys, as well as cause tonsillitis, pneumonia, sinusitis and ear diseases. Antibiotics are used to treat strep throat.
When there is pain and inflammation of the tonsils due to an infection, it is termed as tonsillitis. It can either be caused by viruses or bacteria. While the tonsils fight against the virus and the bacteria, they also end up getting infected. Symptoms include fever, bad breath, pain in swallowing, swollen glands in the the neck and sometimes fever.