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Sore Throat

Sore Throats Usually Respond to At-home Treatment But Occasionally Require Emergency Medical Care

It might start as a tickle, but before you know it, you have a full-blown sore throat. Most likely, you can use a home remedy to treat the condition. However, it might present with additional symptoms that indicate it’s time to go to the emergency room. First, the ER doctor will diagnose the cause and then develop a treatment plan. With the right treatment, you should feel much better quickly.

Causes of a Sore Throat

If your throat is sore, it’s likely due to:

  • Viruses, including influenza and the common cold
  • Bacteria group strep A
  • Allergies
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Smoking or vaping

Is It an Emergency?

Most sore throats aren’t emergencies. This is especially true when don’t have a fever accompanying the soreness. However, you should visit the emergency room if any of the following are true:

  • You’re having trouble breathing or swallowing.
  • There is blood in your phlegm or saliva.
  • Your joints are swollen and painful.
  • You have a rash.
  • You are running a fever.
  • You are dehydrated.

When Should Kids Go to the ER for This?

Kids and adults share many of the same emergency symptoms. However, your child needs emergency pediatric care if he or she is drooling excessively and complains of throat discomfort.

Sore Throat and Ear Pain – Is It an Emergency?

A sore throat and ear pain are common complaints, especially in young children. If you or your child experiences these symptoms, it’s likely due to an infection. You should contact your primary care provider if the condition persists. However, proceed to the emergency room if you also experience:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Hearing loss
  • Discharge or swelling
  • Pain that doesn’t improve within a few days

Fast treatment is needed to prevent the condition from getting worse.

Sore Throat and COVID-19

While throat discomfort isn’t a common symptom of COVID-19, it does occur in some cases. If you think you have COVID-19, check for other symptoms, including:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Breathing problems
  • Loss of smell and taste
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Runny nose

Keep in mind that COVID-19 has numerous symptoms, and most people don’t get all of them. Contact your provider if you think you need a COVID-19 test.


If you aren’t dealing with a medical emergency, you can get relief at home. First, you can gargle with salt water to alleviate your pain. Add a half teaspoon of salt into an 8-ounce glass of water and gargle.

If you have a lot of mucus, use lemon juice instead of water. You just need one teaspoon of lemon juice and some warm water to get relief.

What if you are coughing along with the soreness? You can create a natural cough suppressant by drinking a glass of warm water with two tablespoons of honey.

Visit a local emergency room if you cannot get relief at home or have significant symptoms. The medical team can diagnose the underlying cause and treat your symptoms.