Why do I have a sore throat?

We all get a sore throat every now and then. When you have a sore throat, you will feel like you have difficulty speaking, swallowing and even breathing.

Most sore throats are caused from bacterial or viral infections in the upper respiratory tract, but allergies and sinus infections can also contribute. In unique cases, a sore throat or loss of voice could also be due to strained vocal cord nodules and throat cancer.

If you have a sore throat that lasts more than 5-10 days and is not associated with any allergy or irritation, we advise you to see a doctor. You should also keep a lookout for the following symptoms: 

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing 
  • Difficulty opening your mouth
  • Severe and prolonged sore throat 
  • Earache 
  • Fever 
  • Blood in your saliva or phlegm 
  • Swelling of the face and neck 
  • Sore throat that’s frequently recurring 
  • Lump in your neck 
  • Hoarseness for over 2 weeks 

Potential causes of a sore throat include: 


Sore throats often come as a symptom of viral infections, including the flu, colds and mononucleosis. Apart from a sore throat, other symptoms include swollen glands in the neck [link to neck lumps page], fever, chills and headache. 


If you have allergic rhinitis or are allergic to allergens like pollens, animal dander and house dust, a sore throat may be an accompanying symptom when your allergies flare up. 


Dehydration, pollutants and straining your voice are examples of irritations that can cause a sore throat. For teachers and singers especially, prolonged voice use and straining their voice is quite common. We call this “Singer’s Nodules” or “Screamer’s Nodules”. This can be treated with voice rest, vocal hygiene and regular hydration. Use of a microphone to avoid straining the voice may also be helpful. 

Throat cancer/tumours 

Tumours of the larynx (voice box), throat and tongue can cause a sore throat and hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, lump in the neck and blood in the phlegm. Throat cancer (laryngeal cancer) can also be a cause. 

Woman having sore throat

Ask Us if you have any question?

Feel free to drop us a message if you have concerns or symptoms pertaining to sinusitis.