Dear Ask The Doctor: I have been suffering from a sore throat for the past week or so. Looking in the back of my throat you can see small white bumps surrounded by splotchy red areas. The pain is excruciating every time I swallow, and i have had a hard time eating or drinking ANYTHING. I did see a doctor withing the first 3 days (at that time, it only hurt on one side of my throat so i knew from previously having this sickness, what it was) I told him that i think i have soars in the back of my throat and they are EXTREMELY painful. He looked and said he saw no sores, just redness. Gave me a strep swab that came up negative and sent me on my way. 2 days later i felt it spreading to the other side of my throat and took a flashlight to see if maybe i could see anything. I saw small white (zit like) bumps in the back of my throat surrounded by red splotchy areas. I called the doctors office and told him it was worse. he then sent me a prescription for antibiotics to start treatment for strep throat.. I know for a fact it is not strep throat. I used to be a "strep carrier" when i was young and have had strep throat 100s of times. After i got my tonsils removed i haven't had strep once. What I want to know is what is this if its not strep? What treatment is there? and Why do i keep getting it?
Dear Patient: I do understand your concern. Your symptoms are most likely due to pharyngitis (inflammation of the pharynx, or throat). The most common cause of a sore throat is a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu. A sore throat caused by a virus usually resolves on its own with at-home care. A bacterial infection, a less common cause of sore throat, requires additional treatment with antibiotic drugs. I do not think that you should be overly concerned as the antibiotics will have you covered for any bacterial infection. Regardless of the cause of sore throat, you will certainly benefit with adequate rest, plenty of fluids, saltwater gargles, humidified air and throat lozenges.