How do medications treat a sore throat?

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Antibiotics may be necessary to treat a sore throat, in the case of a bacterial infection, like strep throat or tonsillitis. The antibiotics must be taken for the entire time prescribed by the doctor to keep the infection from coming back or getting worse. Over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen treat the discomfort of the sore throat and help to control the fever that may be present with the infection. If the cause of the illness is a virus, antibiotics will be no help. Aspirin is not an option to treat fever and pain in children with a viral infection. Children with viral infections may be susceptible to a rare but dangerous illness called Reye's syndrome if they are given aspirin.

Continue Learning about Viral Throat Infections

Viral Throat Infections

Viral Throat Infections

Aside from strep throat, most sore throats caused by are contagious, viral throat infections that cannot be treated with antibiotics. The most common culprits of a viral throat infection include coxsackievirus, mononucleosis, and ...

the flu. Mononucleosis (mono) is a virus that causes symptoms that can last for weeks or months at a time. Viral throat infections are best treated with rest, liquids and other home remedies. If the sore throat causes you to have trouble breathing or a high fever, or results in spots in the back of your throat, call your doctor.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.