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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

Understanding Sore Throat -- Symptoms

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The classic symptoms include a burning feeling or "scratchiness" in the back of your throat, pain (especially when you swallow), and perhaps tenderness along your neck.

You may also have:

Recommended Related to Cold & Flu

Preventing Cold & Flu: How Doctors Keep Germs at Bay

With cold and flu season in full swing, we wondered how top docs personally battle nasty bugs each winter. Here are their expert tips for keeping pains, aches, sniffles, and sneezes at bay.

Read the Preventing Cold & Flu: How Doctors Keep Germs at Bay article > >

When to Call the Doctor

  • You've got any pain or hoarseness that lasts longer than 2 weeks. There's a chance that this could be a warning sign of throat cancer or oral cancer.
  • Your sore throat comes with drooling, or you have trouble swallowing or breathing. This might mean your epiglottis, the structure that overhangs the opening to your throat, is inflamed. You could also have an abscess in the back of your throat. You need to get treated ASAP for these two rare conditions.
  • You have a sore throat and pain that moves to your ear. This may be a sign of a more serious problem.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on March 11, 2015

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