Viruses versus Bacteria: A Sore Throat Showdown

When it comes to the source of your sore throat, a virus or bacteria tends to be the culprit. It is very hard to tell the difference between these two causes by merely listing your symptoms. In fact, a physician has to take a throat culture in order to determine whether a virus or a bacterial infection causes your sore throat. It is important to pinpoint the root of a sore throat in order to administer the best and most effective treatment.

There are a few vital things to know about the difference between viral infections and bacterial infections. The following causes and symptoms should be noted to help prevent and treat your sore throat.

Sore throats caused by viruses are the most common source of throat irritation and soreness. The common cold and influenza (also known as the flu) are examples of viruses that cause throat infections. In addition, mononucleosis is from the Epstein-Barr virus and often results in a severe sore throat. Generally, viral infections last several days to a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, sore throat causing viruses simply need to run their course in order to dissipate. The best thing to do in these cases is attempt to relieve pain by drinking lots of fluids and using products, such as Chloraseptic®, that offer quick sore throat relief.

The most well known bacterial infection that causes a sore throat is strep throat. This infection is characterized by difficulty swallowing and white spots in the back of the throat. Unlike viruses, bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics. After treatment begins, bacterial infections become considerably less contagious and symptoms often subside within a few days.