How long does a sore throat last?

How long does a sore throat last?

How long does a sore throat last?

A sore throat can be dry, irritated and make it difficult for you to speak and swallow without pain or discomfort. When you start to have a sore throat, it can feel unpleasant, but it may go away quickly. However, if it doesn’t improve after several days, it could start to have an impact on your daily routine. If you’ve had a sore throat for a long period of time, you might even begin to worry that the cause is something serious that needs immediate medical attention[1].

In this blog, we look at how long a sore throat should typically last, potential causes of a sore throat and when you should consider seeing a doctor.

How long should a sore throat last?

The duration of a sore throat is dependent on the cause and severity. For example, a sore throat caused by something you’ve consumed that’s come into contact with your throat or a minor virus could clear up between three and 10 days, whereas a more serious problem such as an allergic reaction or bacterial infection could last significantly longer and may require treatment.

Why do I keep getting a sore throat?

If you have a sore throat, avoiding potential allergens, consuming cold food such as ice cream, drinking plenty of water, gargling salt water, sipping warm tea, soup or broth, stopping smoking or using a humidifier or steamer may help[1]. However, if you’re having continued problems with a sore throat and it’s making you feel uncomfortable, hindering your daily duties or lasting longer than expected, you may be wondering if your sore throat is caused by something more serious.

Potential causes of sore throats include:

  • Acid reflux
  • An allergic reaction
  • Bacterial infections
  • Casual mouth breathing
  • Chickenpox
  • Common cold
  • Environmental pollution
  • Glandular fever
  • Laryngitis
  • Measles
  • Strep throat
  • Tonsillitis or tonsil abscess

Another potential reason for sore throats is if you have problems with your immune system. A weak immune system is less able to fight off infections when bacteria enters the body, so anyone with a weakened immune system such as someone suffering from AIDS, cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis is more likely to experience sore throats. As such, people within this category should consider ways to boost their immune system.

In some cases, your sore throat may be caused by something you’re doing. For instance, if you’re not drinking enough water throughout the day, dryness in your throat may leave it feeling sore. A sore throat could also be the result of smoking, muscle strain when talking for long periods of time or shouting or exposure to irritants such as acidic fruits, coffee, crisps, crusty bread, fizzy drinks, popcorn, raw vegetables or spicy food[2].

When to see a doctor for a sore throat

A long-lasting sore throat could be a sign of a bacterial infection or something more serious, and with it being one of many symptoms of coronavirus, for example, it’s understandable that you may become concerned.

If you’re worried about your sore throat, it doesn’t improve after a week, you experience frequent sore throats or you have a high temperature and other symptoms, it would be advisable to see a doctor. At this point, a doctor may suggest taking antibiotics, paracetamol or ibuprofen or using a throat spray.