Sore Throat - Prognosis

Sore throat caused by a viral infection usually clears up on its own within one week with no complications. The one exception is mononucleosis. Most cases of mononucleosis also clear up on their own but the recovery period may be much longer. Among adults, it may take up to six months to recover completely from mononucleosis. In rare cases, mononucleosis may lead to complications, such as swollen tonsils, adenoids, and lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are small round or oval bodies that are part of the body's immune system. If this happens, the patient should seek emergency medical care.

Patients with bacterial sore throat usually begin to feel better about 24 hours after starting on antibiotics. An antibiotic is a substance derived from bacteria or other organisms that fights the growth of other bacteria or organisms. Strep throat is the most serious form of sore throat since it can lead to serious complications. These complications include scarlet fever (see scarlet fever entry), kidney damage, and rheumatic fever. Treatment with antibiotics during the early stages of sore throat can usually avoid these complications.

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