Common Sore Throat Causes and Symptoms

I love the first few moments in the morning, you wake up, stretch, and give a huge yawn.

That’s when it hits you, there are a thousand razor blades in your throat, the nastiest of sore throat symptoms has whammied you square in your morning stretch.

What are the sore throat causes? How can you make sure you’re back up and running?

What Are The Top Causes of Sore Throat?

There are a couple of things that can be the reason for your sore throat symptoms.

Viruses and bacteria are two common things people think about when their throat turns into a pit sandpaper and lemon juice. However, other things may be the causes of a sore throat, like smoking, allergies, pollution, and air irritants.


Tonsil infection can be one of the leading causes of sore throat. The tonsils are nodes at the back of the mouth and the top of the throat. There is one tonsil on either side of the throat.

When tonsils become infected, they become inflamed, red, and sore.

Inflammed tonsils - cases of sore throat
Inflamed tonsils are one of the causes of sore throat

Swollen and infected tonsils can cause the following sore throat symptoms

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Speech problems
  • Trouble eating
  • Sleep disturbance

Strep Throat

Strep throat is a bacterial infection caused by the streptococcal bacterium. This bacteria  is highly contagious and requires medical diagnosis and often antibiotic treatment.

While streptococcal infections are relatively common, it is important to treat them quickly to reduce the risk of complications. Strep throat, while most commonly treated at home, has been known to become lethal in small portions of the population.

The creator of The Muppets, Jim Henson, died from complications of strep throat.

So, don’t just ignore it.

Strep throat can cause the following sore throat symptoms:

  • Enlarged neck lymph nodes
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Tender lymph nodes
  • Bad breath
  • Painful swallowing

Nasal Drainage

Nasal drainage can be one of the easiest explanations as a cause of sore throat. Drainage occurs with the sinus’ drain into the back of the throat. It causes the throat to become raw and irritated.

This type of sore throat is usually accompanied by a cough, as you are trying to get rid of the gunk that is going into your stomach. Sometimes, when nasal drainage is the culprit causing your sore throat you will also have nausea and occasional vomiting (depending on your stomach’s sensitivity).

You can also experience some foul tastes when you swallow. This taste is because swallowing creates a momentary vacuum at the back of your throat, anything inside will hit the back of your tongue, where some delicate bitter taste buds live.

If you suspect nasal drainage is causing your sore throat, then you should try to treat the underlying condition. People usually don’t have a runny nose by itself.


Most of us don’t think to look at our environment to find sore throat causes. We want to think it’s a quick fix like an antibiotic or drinking hot tea. However, environmental issues could be causing your sore throat, especially if it is chronic.

Take a look at these environmental factors if you’re suffering from chronic sore throat symptoms:

Respirator for painting
Do you work with chemicals? Use a respirator!
  • Smoking
  • Vaping
  • Working with caustic chemicals: If you think that something at work is causing your sore throat because of a chemical you work with, be sure to address this with your job safety officer. A work safety officer or OSHA representative should be able to help you.

The use of a respirator is highly recommended in certain environment where you may breathe fumes.

  • Seasonal allergies
  • Allergies to pet dander: If your allergies are causing your sore throat, make sure that you are taking an antihistamine daily. An antihistamine should stop the drainage and make your throat feel a lot better.


Now you should be prepared next time you experience the throat of daggers during your morning yawn. Remember,if it’s not a cold, most of the causes of sore throat require medical intervention, especially if it is because of an infection.

Don’t ignore a sore throat; this annoying symptom could be the signal your body is sending you that you need to check in with your doctor.

If your home remedies for sore throat don’t work or you’re running a fever, go and get it checked!


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