A sore throat is pain, scratchiness or irritation of the throat that often worsens when you swallow.

Signs and symptoms

  • Pain or a scratchy sensation in the throat
  • Pain that worsens when swallowing or talking
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Sore, swollen glands in your neck or jaw
  • Swollen, red tonsils
  • White patches or pus on your tonsils
  • A hoarse or muffled voice


  • Virus
  • Allergies
  • Dryness
  • Irritants
  • Muscle strain 

Risk Factors

  • Age
  • Exposure to tobacco smoke
  • Allergies
  • Exposure to chemical irritants
  • Chronic or frequent sinus infections


  • Tkae over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen 
  • Mix half a teaspoon of salt into 8 ounces of warm water and gargle 
  • Mix two tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of lemon juice in warm water and drink it
  • Drink a glass of warm herbal tea
  • Use a humidifier
  • Get plenty of rest

When to seek care

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fever greater than 101.9F for 24-48 hours and does not improve with medication
  • A sore throat that is severe or lasts longer than a week


  • Wash your hands often using warm water and soap
  • Avoid sharing food, drinking glasses or utensils
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue and throw it away
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers
  • Regularly clean areas that are frequently touched
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick

Campus Resource

Nebraska Medicine University Health Center offers medical services to help students feel and stay well. Most services at the University Health Center require an appointment. Call 402.472.5000 to schedule an appointment. Telehealth visits are available depending on your symptoms. Learn more about hours