Throat Problems

Throat pain and mouth sores, along with other cold and flu symptoms, are common problems. This chart will direct you to the appropriate care.

Our trusted Symptom Checker is written and reviewed by physicians and patient education professionals. Find a possible diagnosis by choosing a symptom and answering a few simple questions.

Remember, be sure to consult with you doctor if you feel you have a serious medical problem.

Step 2

Answering Questions

  • Do you have a fever?

  • Do you have body aches, headache, cough or runny nose?

  • Are you vomiting or do you have nausea or diarrhea?

  • When you look at the back of your throat, do you see white patches on your tonsils?

  • Do you have a persistent cough or are you coughing mucus?

  • Is the person a child with a harsh barking cough?

  • Do you have small, open sores on your tongue, inside your lips or on the sides or back of your mouth?

  • Is the skin in your mouth peeling, and are your tongue and gums swollen and red?

  • Do you have white patches and redness on your tongue or on the sides or back of your mouth?

Step 3

Possible Causes

  • Diagnosis

    You probably have a COLD or FLU.


    Self Care

    Drink plenty of fluids and get plenty of rest. Children should be given nonaspirin medicine for the fever. If the cold lasts longer than two to three days, see your doctor.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have viral GASTROENTERITIS, also called STOMACH FLU.


    Self Care

    Drink plenty of fluids and get plenty of rest. Use an antinausea and/or antidiarrheal medicine. See your doctor if symptoms get worse, if they last longer than a week, or if you become dehydrated.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have STREP THROAT or MONONUCLEOSIS.


    Self Care

    See your doctor.


  • Diagnosis

    These symptoms may be from BRONCHITISPNEUMONIA or POST-NASAL DRIP.


    Self Care

    These illnesses need prescription treatments. See your doctor.


  • Diagnosis

    A dry barking cough often means CROUP or, less commonly, EPIGLOTTITIS.


    Self Care

    Make sure the child is drinking plenty of fluids. Relieve fever and other discomfort with children’s acetaminophen. See your doctor right away if there is shortness of breath. Croup and other respiratory infections may need treatment by your doctor.


  • Diagnosis

    These sores are called CANKER SORES. They usually occur by themselves or with other viral illnesses.


    Self Care

    Most of these sores will heal in 7 to 14 days. Use an anesthetic spray or an analgesic medicine. If the sores are severe, last longer than expected, or are accompanied by other symptoms, see your doctor.


  • Diagnosis

    This may be from TRENCH MOUTH, an infection of the gums, teeth and other tissues. A rare drug reaction, STEVENS-JOHNSON REACTION, may also cause this.


    Self Care

    See your dentist or doctor. Poor dental hygiene may lead to this disease. Brush your teeth and floss as recommended by your dentist. Use over-the-counter pain medications to relieve discomfort.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have ORAL THRUSH, a yeast infection in your mouth.


    Self Care

    This may be a simple infection, or it may come from another, more serious illness. You may be able to control the infection by eating unsweetened yogurt (with live cultures) or taking acidophilus. This may help restore normal bacteria in your body. See your doctor if it returns or doesn’t go away.


  • Diagnosis


    Self Care

    This may be a simple infection, or it may come from another, more serious illness. You may be able to control the infection by eating unsweetened yogurt (with live cultures) or taking acidophilus. This may help restore normal bacteria in your body. See your doctor if it returns or doesn’t go away.