There’s plenty to love about this time of year. From the dropping temperatures and changing of the leaves to the upcoming holiday season, there’s a lot be excited about. But unfortunately, this is also a common time for sore throats to settle in. There are many sore throat causes that could affect your family during these cooler months. But how do you know which ones might warrant a visit to a healthcare provider? Learn some of the most common catalysts for sore throats and when it’s time to pay a visit to MercyOne Urgent Care.

Sore Throat Causes: When to See a Doctor | MercyOne

What Could Be Causing My Sore Throat?

A sore throat can creep up when you least expect it. What starts as a prickly, irritating sensation in your throat can grow into pain and sensitivity every time you swallow. This can affect your ability to perform simple tasks such as speaking and eating. And, if not properly cared for, a sore throat can develop into a more serious condition.

Sore throat causes range from simple sources to other health concerns. Some common causes include:

  • Viruses, such as cold and flu
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Overexertion from yelling, laughing, or talking for extended periods of time
  • Irritation from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Bacterial infections which cause strep throat

Within the last five years, the United States saw as many as 25,000 cases of group A strep disease. And from 2021 to 2022, there were approximately 9 million cases of the flu according to the CDC. While a sore throat is not always caused by a viral or bacterial infection, it never hurts to err on the side of caution. If you are unsure of your family’s sore throat causes, reach out to our urgent care professionals for comprehensive diagnosis and treatment.

When Should I Seek Medical Care?

In some circumstances, a sore throat can subside on its own. Irritation from allergies or overexerting your vocal cords are just a few common sore throat causes that can recover with rest, anti-inflammatory medicine, and hydration. Gargling with warm salt water, drinking warm tea and soup, avoiding smoke inhalation, and resting your voice as much as possible may provide you with some relief. But if your sore throat is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, you should pay a visit to your closest urgent care. 

Consult with your doctor as soon as possible if you have a sore throat and one or more of the following symptoms:

  • A fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Difficult swallowing or breathing
  • Joint pain, facial pain, or earache
  • Swelling of the throat or face
  • A rash on your skin or lump in your neck

A sore throat may not always appear with other symptoms. However, if your sore throat lasts longer than a week, you should stop by our urgent care for a professional evaluation.

Find Solutions to Sore Throat Causes at MercyOne Urgent Care

At MercyOne Urgent Care, we are dedicated to helping our patients feel better, faster. With multiple convenient urgent care locations, you can reach healthcare professionals close to you when you need them most. From finding flu shots and COVID testing to getting to the root cause of your sore throat, our doctors provide you with the care you need in a comfortable clinic environment.

If you need non-emergency medical services in Iowa, simply stop by your closest MercyOne Urgent Care. Or, if you want to secure your place in line and make your wait even shorter, check-in online! If you have any questions about our clinic or what services we offer, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We look forward to helping you with the fast and affordable care you deserve.