Signs and Symptoms of Sore Throat

Symptoms of sore throat throughout the body include fever, headache, nausea, and malaise. These may be present with either a viral or bacterial infection.

Symptoms specific to the throat include pain with swallowing for pharyngitis and a hoarse voice when laryngitis is present. Cold viruses tend to cause more coughing and runny nose than strep throat.

Signs of sore throat include the following:

  • Pus on the surface of the tonsils (can happen with bacteria or viruses)
  • Redness of the oropharynx (the pharynx viewed though the mouth)
  • Tender neck glands (inflamed lymph nodes)
  • Drooling or spitting (swallowing becomes too painful)
  • Difficulty breathing (inhaling can be especially difficult when the passage through the pharynx or larynx becomes too narrow for a normal stream of air)
  • Vesicles (bubbles of fluid on a red base) in the oral cavity or oropharynx may indicate the presence of Coxsackie virus or herpes simplex virus.

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