Sore Throat | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

Sore throat, or pharyngitis, describes inflammation of the pharynx in the back of the mouth at the opening of the throat. Viral infections that can cause a sore throat include the common cold, mononucleosis or the flu. Strep throat is caused by a bacterial infection, streptococcus, that can clear on its own or be treated with antibiotics.

The following sore throat symptoms may indicate a viral infection rather than a bacterial strep infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Hoarse, raspy or strained voice
  • Pinkeye (conjunctivitis)

Some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can have a sore throat associated with them, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Causes of an inflamed and sore throat that are not viral or bacterial can include dry indoor air, allergies, smoking, pollution, chronic rhinitis and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD or acid reflux).

Severe dehydration and even mild dehydration can contribute to soreness and scratchiness in the throat, especially after sleeping.

How to Take Care of a Sore Throat

Some ways you can feel better when you have a sore throat:

  • Ice chips, ice pops or throat lozenges can soothe the pain for older children and adults.
  • Use a humidifier or vaporizer to add moisture to the air.
  • Gargle with salt water.
  • Drink warm liquids and stay hydrated.

If you have a severe sore throat or have other concerning symptoms, consult a health care provider.

Norton Now includes same-day care options so you can get the care you need, when you need it and where you need it. Save your spot in line at a Norton Immediate Care Center or visit a Norton Prompt Care clinic for treatment of minor injuries or illnesses.

Use Norton eCare video visits or just answer a few questions online from anywhere in Kentucky or Indiana for care without coming into the office. Your provider can order drive-thru lab testing for you at Norton Healthcare Express Services if it’s needed.

Norton Community Medical Associates primary care offices are located across the Louisville and Southern Indiana area.

Strep Throat

Strep throat is a bacterial infection, primarily caused by group A streptococcus bacteria, of the throat and tonsils. If you are experiencing throat pain, trouble swallowing, have a fever, red blisters on your throat and your lymph nodes are swollen, chances are you have strep throat. Common symptoms include sore throat, difficulty swallowing, fever and swollen lymph nodes. It can be diagnosed through a throat swab and typically is treated with antibiotics to prevent complications and reduce the duration of symptoms.

Although anyone can get strep throat, it is more common in children ages 5 to 15 and usually occurs in late winter and early spring.

Strep throat is highly contagious and generally is spread through respiratory droplets from infected individuals. Direct contact with infected surfaces or people, such as through coughing, sneezing or sharing contaminated objects, can cause and spread the illness.

If you experience any of these common strep throat symptoms, schedule an appointment for a strep test so antibiotics can be prescribed to eliminate the infection and reduce the risk of spreading it to others.

  • Fever
  • Painful swallowing
  • A sore throat that came on quickly
  • Swollen tonsils, perhaps with white patches or streaks
  • Tiny, red spots on the roof of the mouth
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck (swollen glands)

If you are pregnant and suspect strep throat, it’s important to seek prompt medical attention. Follow your health care provider’s prescribed treatment plan to prevent potential complications.

A strep throat diagnosis easily can be confirmed by a primary care provider, by swabbing the throat and running a rapid test on the sample. A throat culture, which tests whether any of the strep bacteria grow in a lab, can confirm cases that a rapid test might miss.

The same group A strep bacteria that causes strep throat can cause scarlet fever. Long-term complications of scarlet fever can be severe and include rheumatic fever and pneumonia, but are rare, especially when the condition is treated promptly with antibiotics.

Seek immediate medical care if you experience:

  • Sudden sore throat with a rash
  • Fever higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit for an infant 12 weeks old or younger
  • Fever higher than 104 F in any child or adult
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Diagnosed case of strep throat that doesn’t respond to antibiotics in 48 hours

Complications of Untreated Strep Throat

It is important to treat strep throat with antibiotics right away to avoid spreading the infection to other areas of the body and risking damage to your immune system. Infection can spread to:

  • The middle ear: This can lead to fever, ear pain, and hearing issues.
  • The sinuses: A sinus infection can lead to congestion, fever and pain.
  • The lining of the brain and spinal cord: This infection is called meningitis and can cause fever, headache and a stiff neck. While very rare, meningitis is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately.
  • Get medical care when and where it works for you.
    • Norton Community Medical Associates primary care is your medical home. More than 35 locations across the Louisville area and Southern Indiana means there’s an office close to home, work or school. Your primary care physician knows you and your health and performs annual checkups to stay ahead of any emerging conditions. Our doctors and nurse practitioners connect you to the full Norton Healthcare system, giving you and your family easy access to the area’s leading specialty physicians.
    • More than 15 Norton Immediate Care Centers offer treatment for minor illnesses and injuries. Reserve your spot in line and we’ll text you when it’s time to check in. All Norton Immediate Care Centers are equipped with X-ray machines.
    • Norton Prompt Care clinics have same-day appointments available when you need care for yourself or your family. All locations offer extended weekday and weekend hours. Many are located within Walgreens stores.
    • Norton eCare allows you to visit with a provider via secure video or by simply answering questions online about your symptoms.
    • Emergency care is available for a very serious illness or injury that puts your life in danger. Get treatment 24/7 at nine locations in Louisville and Southern Indiana, including three locations for kids.
  • Medicaid, Medicare and most major commercial insurance plans are accepted.
  • Get test results, renew prescriptions, communicate with your health care provider, get notified if an earlier appointment becomes available and more with your free Norton MyChart account.

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