Throat infection symptoms can be caused by bacterial or viral throat infections. Throat infections are considered fairly common, especially among children and adolescents. Most throat infections aren't serious, and will go away on their own in about a week. Some throat infections, however, can cause serious complications, especially in children, if not treated properly and promptly.
Viral and bacterial infections are usually to blame for throat infection symptoms. Viral infections of the throat include chickenpox, measles, common cold, influenza, and croup. Mononucleosis can also cause throat symptoms. Throat infections of all types are most common in children, adolescents, pregnant women, and others with lowered immunity.
Bacterial throat infections are often more serious than those caused by viruses. Diptheria, whooping cough, and strep throat are among the bacterial infections that can cause throat symptoms. These infections most often strike children. Serious, even deadly, complications can develop without treatment. Throat symptoms are not always the result of infection. Allergies, environmental irritants, and even muscle soreness can cause throat symptoms.
Throat infection symptoms generally include pain and scratchiness or discomfort in the throat. Throat discomfort caused by infection usually gets worse with eating, drinking or talking. Throat infections can make it hard to swallow, and can cause the throat to feel dry. Throat infection symptoms often include hoarseness.
Throat infections can sometimes change the appearance of the tissues in the throat. Throat infection symptoms such as swelling, inflammation, white patches or pus on the tonsils or back of the throat may indicate a bacterial infection. More general symptoms can occur with throat infection, including fever, runny nose, chills, cough, sneezing, head aches, and body aches. Nausea and even vomiting can accompany a throat infection.
Not all throat infections are serious, and most don't require any treatment. Since children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to dangerous throat infections like whooping cough, diptheria, and strep throat, they should generally receive medical care as soon as sore throat symptoms appear.
Adults may often choose not to seek medical care for throat infection symptoms right away. Most viral throat infections can't be treated with medication, and patients are generally asked to wait until such infections run their course. Adults may be well advised to seek medical care if sore throat symptoms last longer than seven days, or if there is any trouble with breathing, swallowing, or opening the mouth. Earache, joint paint, rash, fever above 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 Celsius), bloody phlegm, or swelling of lymph glands in the neck are all indications that a throat infection may be serious enough to require medical treatment.