A mild sore throat can come from something as simple as dry indoor air, especially during the winter when we keep the windows closed and are heating the house.
But, there's an easy fix. Try getting out the humidifier, which is helpful during the night while you sleep.
More commonly though it's not that simple. Most of the time it's a virus to blame.
If that's the case, there is no specific treatment that will make you better any faster. It generally must run its course.
The most common bacteria that causes a sore throat is strep, but without a throat culture or specific strep test, it can be difficult to tell if that is the case.
There are a few specific symptoms that point the finger at strep for example;
If your throat is sore, but there is no cough, white patches on the tonsils, a fever and tender lymph nodes at the front of the neck.
If you suspect it's strep, you can get tested, and antibiotics may be helpful.
Your doctor will know what's best depending on your severity of the infection.
Mono often causes some of the worst sore throats, and there's no specific treatment, but it's helpful to know if that's the cause to predict how long you will feel sick.
A trip to the doctor and a blood test can show if, in fact, mononucleosis is present.
Treating a sore throat is frustrating, there's no magic bullet. Gargling with warm salt water several times a day can help. Pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can also provide comfort by lessening the symptoms.
As always during the cold, flu and sore throat season, good hygiene is number one; like washing your hands and being careful not to share common items like utensils, cups and never share a towel.
Most sore throats improve on their own in a few days to a week, but if you have trouble swallowing liquids or your saliva, the pain or swelling is worse on one side more than the other, or you have any trouble breathing, you should be seen by a doctor.