Having a fever with a sore throat does not always require emergency care, but if you have a particularly high fever, or are experiencing acute symptoms, it may be time to seek emergency treatment. A throat ache coupled with a fever could mean tonsillitis, strep throat, COVID-19, or other potentially serious conditions.
Complete Care is a 24/7 freestanding emergency care facility with locations in Colorado Springs and throughout Texas. If you’re suffering from a sore throat with a fever, and are concerned about your symptoms, do not hesitate to head into one of our facilities.
When to seek emergency treatment for a sore throat with a fever
Sore throats and fevers are common symptoms of many mild illnesses. However, you may require emergency care if they are accompanied by any of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Inability to swallow
- Loss of voice
- Inability to fully open your mouth
- High fever
- Coughing up blood
- Swelling on either side of your throat
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms alongside a sore throat, do not wait to be seen by a medical professional. If left untreated, the virus or bacteria causing your symptoms can lead to serious health problems in other parts of the body. ER facilities will be able to use quick diagnostic tests to check if a sore throat is caused by group A Streptococcus, or any other bacteria/virus, so that swift antibiotic therapy can be prescribed.
COVID-19 has been a serious concern for many patients over the last few years, particularly those who are immunocompromised. If you are experiencing a sore throat and fever and fear you may have COVID-19, stay away from others until you’re able to get a test and learn when to go to the ER for covid.
What do you do when you have a fever with a sore throat?
Most cases of a fever with a sore throat are a result of minor colds or viruses and easily be treated at home with the following treatments:
- Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications like ibuprofen or paracetamol
- Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water supplemented with electrolytes
- Using warm or cool fluids to soothe a scratchy throat
- Eating soft foods
- Avoiding smoking or inhaling smoke
- Gargling warm salt water (be sure to spit the mixture out rather than swallow)
- Using lozenges as needed
How long do sore throat and fever last?
The amount of time you spend with a sore throat will depend on what’s causing it. Regardless of the cause, if your sore throat persists for longer than 6 days, you should see a doctor. Likewise, see a doctor if you have a fever higher than 103 degrees, your fever isn’t responding to medication, or your fever lasts longer than three to five days.
What causes fever and sore throat?
Your throat is the cylindrical pathway that connects your mouth to your windpipe and esophagus. The technical term for the throat is the pharynx which is why a sore and inflamed throat may also be referred to as pharyngitis. Or, when caused by a group A Streptococcus infection, streptococcal pharyngitis. You could also have a sore throat due to inflammation of the tonsils, which is known as tonsillitis, or strep throat, also known as streptococcal tonsillitis (inflammation of the tonsils).
Sore throats can be caused by the following conditions:
- Cold or flu: symptoms may include fever (although this is usually for the flu, as most colds do not cause fevers), sneezing, runny nose, coughing, post-nasal drip, and watery eyes
- Laryngitis: swelling in your larynx can cause hoarseness or a weak voice, rawness in your throat, dry throat, and cough
- Tonsillitis: any sore throat lasting longer than 24 to 48 hours, white or yellow patches on the tonsils, and sore throat with fever
- Strep throat: typically characterized by swollen lymph nodes in your neck, white dots on your tonsils, and discomfort when swallowing
- Glandular fever: along with a severe sore throat, patients may experience a very high temperature, swelling in the neck, exhaustion, and chronic tonsillitis
- Allergies: usually characterized by red itchy eyes, coughing, itchiness, and feeling sick (read more about symptoms of allergies in adults)
- Gastro-esophageal reflux disease: symptoms include sore throat, heartburn, backwash, chest pain, and nausea
- COVID-19: typically identifiable by the loss of taste or smell, headache, body ache, shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, or fever (learn more about COVID chest pain)
A majority of sore throats are due to viral infections, but the most common bacterial cause of a sore throat is due to strep throat. Considering the combination of symptoms you are experiencing can help you know what you’re facing, how best to treat it, and most importantly when to seek emergency care.
How to tell if it’s strep throat vs sore throat:
The only way to get an official diagnosis of strep throat is to see your doctor, as the conditions of tonsillitis vs strep throat are very similar and may be hard to tell apart.
Strep throat is a throat infection caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria (group A strep), which causes irritation and swelling of the tonsils and throat. A sore throat can be caused by a host of different variables causing irritation to the throat including allergies, smoke inhalation, viruses, or bacteria.
Strep throat is infectious and easily spreadable. Although it is most common in children, the infection can be transferred in airborne particles to anyone. Symptoms of strep throat include red, inflamed, and swollen tonsils and a sore throat. With strep or tonsillitis, your tonsils may be covered in white patches of pus. Other symptoms of sore throats caused by a virus, bacteria, or strep throat include fever, headache, and pain with swallowing.
Complete Care Emergency Treatment for any kind of sore throat with a fever
More often than not, rest and home care are enough to help you get over a fever with a sore throat but when it’s not, you’ll need to head into an ER near you for care. If you’re experiencing a fever higher than 103 degrees or are noticing emergency symptoms such as difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, or severe swelling on the sides of your throat, it’s likely time to contact your doctor.
Looking for compassionate care in Colorado Springs and Texas? Come to a Complete Care freestanding emergency room facility! We are open 24/7 and work in an effective, efficient environment so that we can offer wait times that are shorter than the competition. Come on in, we are ready to take complete care of you.