Sore throat is a very common disease that people have. About 20 to 30 percent of people develop sore throat symptoms every year. Sore throat is a very painful and irritating experience for the throat. People with sore throats want it to go away as early as possible, because of an irritation in the throat. So, let’s find out how long does sore throat last.
How long does sore throat last?
A sore throat can last up to 3 to 10 days. Acute sore throat caused by a viral infection is self-curable, and it takes 2 to 3 days to get relief from sore throat with the viral infection. However, if the cause of sore throat is bacterial then sometimes it can take weeks or months to get relief from sore throat.
Most people are infected with an acute sore throat, which only lasts 3 to 4 days maximum. However, in some cases the cause of sore throat is unknown or it may be a bacterial infection, which is less common than an acute sore throat and in medical terms addressed as a chronic sore throat.
How long does a viral sore throat last
A viral sore throat lasts up to 3 to 4 days but in some cases, it can last 7 to 10 days. A viral sore throat is self curable and doesn’t require any antibiotics. Using home remedies like salt gargles can aid the pain to some extent during viral sore throat problems.
Viral infection is the common cause of sore throat among people. And the days it can last, vary from person to person and on the cause of infection. Most people may get relief from sore throat in 3 to 5 days with a viral infection. However, sometimes it may take more than 7 days to get relief.
A viral infection that causes sore throat
Some other infections can also cause a sore throat like mononucleosis (mono), influenza (the flu), Neisseria gonococcus (gonorrhea), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and others.
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How long does Sore throat cause by bacterial infection
Sore throat caused by a bacterial infection like strep throat can last 4 days, a week, and a month. This kind of infection can only be cured or aid by taking the help of antibiotics.
According to research, about 10 percent of patients with a sore throat, have strep throat.
There are some symptoms of strep throat that help you identify the cause of sore throat as early as possible. Some symptoms of strep throat are
- Pain in the throat is a very common symptom where you feel pain in the throat rather than just irritation.
- You might catch a fever above 100.4 °F.
- White patches develop on the side or back of the throat.
Besides that, if you do not have any cold, runny nose, or redness of eyes then, there are high chances that you have strep throat instead of viral infection. Using any home remedy will not cure this problem, one must have to take the test, visit a doctor, and take the antibiotics prescribed by a doctor to cure the problem.
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How long does a sore throat last with cold
Sore throat caused by cold falls into the Viral pharyngitis category, and it can last up to 3 to 4 days. Sometimes sore throat caused by a viral infection can also cause a fever and you may feel ill.
Symptoms of cold caused by a viral infection
- Running nose
- Congested nose
- Eye redness
- Soreness on the upper throat surface
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How long does a sore throat last without antibiotics?
In case of viral infection, sore throat can last up to 3 to 10 days without antibiotics as it is self-treatable. However, to reduce the pain or get relief faster, one can take the help of home remedies. However, if the cause of sore throat is a bacterial infection, then it can last months without antibiotics and in the end, you still have to take antibiotics prescribed by the doctor.
Strep throat is a particular kind of infection that can be cured with help of antibiotics.
When to visit a doctor?
There are some cases when a person should consider visiting a doctor and halt using any home remedies. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a person who is suffering from a sore throat should visit a doctor after noticing these signs
- When a sore throat lasts more than 7 days or weeks, then you should visit a doctor.
- If a person is having difficulty in breathing or Swolling food, then a person should pay a visit to the clinic. Even if you feel difficulty in opening your mouth, then also you should visit a doctor.
- Aching or pain in joints during sore throat is another sign that demands doctor attention.
- Fever with irritated throat is another sign
- In the case of children, a sign of strep sore throat, or cough, makes it important to contact your doctor.
Depending on the cause of the sore throat, one can know how long it will last.
Sore throat treatment
Before going for any treatment one must make sure of the underlying cause of the sore throat. If it shows the symptoms of viral infection like cold, then there is no treatment required as it gets better with days without any treatment.
However, if it shows the symptoms of strep throat, then you can take some tests to confirm the underlying problem. People with more than 2 or 2 symptoms of strep throat, should take tests to confirm the cause.
One can take a rapid test, throat culture, and lastly a covid test.
- The rapid test is the fastest way to find out the cause as one can get results in minutes and the success chances of this test are also high. However, in some cases, the tests are not a hundred percent accurate.
- The throat culture is another test that involves taking samples and sending them to a laboratory. It takes more than 24 hours to get the results of the test. However, the accuracy of this test is higher in contrast to the rapid test.
- Lastly, one should also get themselves tested for covid-19.
If you have a viral infection
Avoid taking any antibiotics to treat the sore throat caused by viral infection. Using antibiotics in this situation can result in diarrhea, rashes, or developing allergies. However, one can treat the pain or irritation with different home treatments.
Add a ½ spoon of salt in a half glass of water. Then take a full sip of water and gargle the water in the back of your throat as long as possible, do it to limit what you can handle.
Then spit the water, and follow the same process. Do this twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. This is the traditional method used in many countries to get relief from the pain during the sore throat.
One should also avoid using any type of steroid to get relief from a sore throat as it has its own side effects if used on regular basis.
To get relief from pain, you can take pain medication. Some are – acetaminophen (sample brand name: Tylenol) or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (“NSAID”) such as ibuprofen (sample brand names: Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (sample brand names: Aleve, Naprosyn).
If you have strep throat
Strep throat is also self-treatable and mild symptoms can go away in 4 to 5 days. However, if the test reports come positive then antibiotics are recommended by doctors.
Antibiotics like penicillin are usually recommended by doctors for 8 to 10 days and should be taken twice or four times a day.