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A sore throat is a pain in the throat, so to speak, but the other thing about a sore throat that has to be understood is there are many causes.  There are bacterial causes and viral causes.  We have to evaluate them.  Certainly, if it's pharyngitis, you need to have an antibiotic to treat it.  But if it's a viral issue, you often just need gargling and a little time with it.  What we do with a sore throat is we often culture them to try to find out exactly what the cause is and then to deal with it from that perspective.  

By: Brian McDonough, M.D., FAAFP