What are the Most Common Causes of a Throat Infection?

Meshell Powell

A throat infection can be painful and extremely bothersome, especially when accompanied by other symptoms such as fever and fatigue. It is often necessary to visit a doctor to find out the exact cause of a throat infection. Some common causes of infection include mononucleosis, strep throat, and allergies. These infections may be caused by bacteria, viruses, or other sources. Treatment methods vary based on the exact cause of the infection.

Mononucleosis can cause a throat infection.
Mononucleosis can cause a throat infection.

Mononucleosis can lead to a throat infection and is caused by a virus. Fever and swollen lymph glands are common with this type of infection as well. Mononucleosis is a contagious disease and is spread through close contact with an infected person, especially through contact with saliva. This condition will eventually go away on its own, and prescription medications typically have little or no effect on this type of viral infection. Symptoms may be lessened by drinking plenty of fluids and taking over-the-counter pain medications as necessary.

Peppermints and other hard candies may help ease the pain associated with a throat infection.
Peppermints and other hard candies may help ease the pain associated with a throat infection.

Strep throat is a type of bacterial throat infection caused by a bacteria known as streptococcus. Common symptoms of strep throat include sore throat, fever, and stomach issues such as nausea. Strep throat is contagious, so an infected person should stay home from work and school while sick. Prescription antibiotics and over-the-counter pain medications are commonly used to treat strep throat.

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Throat lozenges can help keep the throat lubricated.
Throat lozenges can help keep the throat lubricated.

Allergies can lead to a throat infection in some cases. Seasonal or environmental allergies, especially if left untreated, can leave the immune system compromised and prone to infections of the throat, ears, and sinus cavity. Proper treatment of these allergies, whether by the use of over-the-counter or prescription medications, may help to treat or prevent this type of throat infection.

Gargling with warm saltwater can soothe an infected throat.
Gargling with warm saltwater can soothe an infected throat.

While medications may often be needed in order to cure a throat infection, other measures may be taken to help ease symptoms as well. Gargling with warm salt water several times per day can help to soothe a sore throat. Throat lozenges or hard candy such as peppermints may help to keep the throat lubricated, thus easing some of the pain or discomfort.

Antibiotics will work against bacterial throat infections, such as strep throat.
Antibiotics will work against bacterial throat infections, such as strep throat.

Any type of throat infection can be contagious, so precautions should be taken to prevent the spread of the infection to others. One important way to help avoid the spread of the infection is to always cover the mouth when coughing or sneezing. Proper hand washing is particularly important, and hand sanitizers may be used between hand washings to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria or viruses.

Allergies and strep throat can cause throat infections.
Allergies and strep throat can cause throat infections.
A crossection of the human head, including the throat.
A crossection of the human head, including the throat.

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