University of Rochester


University Health Service (UHS)
Health Promotion Office

Sore Throat

Most sore throats are caused by a viral infection of the throat, tonsils, or nasal passages and are associated with a cold or the flu. A dry (nonproductive) cough and lighter colored mucus are usually present. Viral sore throats are less likely to be accompanied by a fever than a bacterial sore throat. Most viral sore throats can be treated with self-care and do not require the attention of a health care provider. Antibiotics are ineffective for treating viral infections.

Many sore throats are also caused by allergens or irritants. The other less common, but more serious, cause of sore throats are bacterial infections, such as strep bacteria. The throat appears very red with white or yellow patches or pus on the throat or tonsils and the tonsils and/or neck glands or lymph nodes are swollen. A fever higher than 101°F may be present. Sore throats caused by bacterial infections should be examined by a health care provider. They can be treated with antibiotics.

Symptoms of strep throat

Self care for a minor sore throat

Signs that you should seek medical care


For more information, contact Linda Dudman in the UHS Health Promotion Office at (585) 273-5770 or ldudman@uhs.rochester.edu

Please send questions about the technical structure/operation to the UHS Web Master

Last modified: Thursday, 26-May-2011 16:40:30 EDT