Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

Font Size

Understanding Sore Throat -- Symptoms

What Are the Symptoms of a Sore Throat?

The classic symptoms of a sore throat include a burning sensation or "scratchiness" in the back of the throat; pain, especially when swallowing; and, perhaps, tenderness along the neck. These symptoms may be accompanied by:

  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Hoarseness
  • Runny nose
  • Mild fever
  • General fatigue
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Abdominal pain
  • Rash

 

Recommended Related to Cold & Flu

Swine Flu and Travel: 6 Tips

Are you rethinking your travel plans in light of H1N1flu (swine flu)? Here are six travel recommendations to keep in mind.

Read the Swine Flu and Travel: 6 Tips article > >

Call Your Doctor About a Sore Throat if:

  • You also have a fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit without other cold symptoms; this may indicate a case of strep throat that needs treatment.
  • You also have flu-like symptoms that don't get better after a few days; this may indicate infectious mononucleosis.
  • Your child or adolescent suffers flu-like symptoms. Influenza is also more likely to lead to complications in pregnant women, people with obesity, or people with chronic illness such as COPD, asthma, or diabetes.
  • Any pain or hoarseness lasting longer than 2 weeks; this could be a sign of throat cancer or oral cancer.
  • Your sore throat persists for more than a week and is accompanied by postnasal drip, sneezing, and itchy eyes; this may be a sign of allergies that require medical attention.
  • Your sore throat is accompanied by drooling, or you experience difficulty swallowing or breathing; this may indicate an inflamed epiglottis, the structure that overhangs the opening to the larynx, or an abscess in the back of the throat; these two uncommon conditions require immediate medical attention.
  • Your sore throat is accompanied by pain that moves to the ear; this may be a sign of a more serious problem.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Daniel Brennan, MD on March 12, 2014
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

neti pot
Slideshow
Chicken soup
Slideshow
 
Natural Cold Flu Remedies Slideshow
Slideshow
Syringes and graph illustration
TOOL
 
Natural Cold Flu Remedies Slideshow
Slideshow
blowing nose
Video
 
Allergy And Sinus Symptom Evaluator
Health Check
Boy holding ear
Article
 
woman receiving vaccine shot
Article
Bacterial or Viral Infection
Video
 
How To Calm Your Cough
Quiz
Sore Throat
Slideshow
 

WebMD Special Sections