Sore throats are common sources of irritation and discomfort. Yet when a sore throat becomes so painful that you can't swallow, talk, or eat, this could be a sign of a serious infection, which can be caused by bacteria or viruses, such as streptococcus. If you develop pus on your tonsils, are unable to swallow, begin to vomit, have red tonsils that are swollen, or develop a fever that is higher than 39.4 degrees Celsius, seek medical attention, as this is a sign of infection.
A bacteria known as streptococcus can cause a throat infection. According to the Mayo Clinic, diagnosing strep throat is important, due to the fact that the bacteria can lead to kidney inflammation and rheumatic fever, which can be a serious complication because it can damage your heart valves. The most noticeable signs of strep are white patches of pus around the tonsils, as well as a fever, headache, throat pain, red and swollen tonsils, and swollen glands in the neck area.
Oral thrush is caused by a fungus known as candida albicans. When you have thrush you develop lesions that are white in appearance and resemble cottage cheese. The lesions can bleed if they are disturbed, and if the infection becomes severe they can appear in the throat. If thrush is not controlled the fungus can spread into the oesophagus, which can result in difficulty swallowing.
On each side of your throat are two fleshy pads, which are your tonsils. If the tonsils become infected with either bacteria or a virus, this can result in tonsillitis. According to the Mayo Clinic, if tonsillitis is not cured with treatments such as antibiotics the tonsils will need to be removed with surgery. Symptoms of tonsillitis include red and swollen tonsils, fever and chills, headache and body aches, sore throat, and pain within the jaw and neck. They may also include laryngitis and painful swallowing, and children may suffer from a stomach ache.
Sexually transmitted diseases can be passed through the mouth during oral intercourse. STDs such as a HPV (human papillomavirus) can cause warts to develop within the throat and mouth. Syphilis can also create enlarged lymph nodes in the disease's initial phase. If you have a syphilis infection, sores in the mouth and on the tongue will begin to appear.
If left untreated, infections of the throat can lead to serious complications, including infectious mononucleosis, which can lead to inflammation and rupturing of the spleen. Anemia can occur, as well as liver inflammation, inflammation of the heart, nerve damage and swollen tonsils. If you experience a fever, swollen tonsils or lymph nodes, rashes on the skin, night sweats or a sore throat that does not get better with antibiotics, seek medical attention.