Risk factorsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Although anyone can get a sore throat, some factors make you more susceptible. These factors include:
- Being a child or teenager. Children and teens are most likely to develop sore throats. Children are also more likely to have strep throat, the most common bacterial infection associated with a sore throat.
- Being exposed to tobacco smoke. Smoking and secondhand smoke can irritate the throat. The use of tobacco products also increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, throat and voice box.
- Having allergies. If you have seasonal allergies or ongoing allergic reactions to dust, molds or pet dander, you're more likely to develop a sore throat than are people who don't have allergies.
- Being exposed to chemical irritants. Particulate matter in the air from the burning of fossil fuels, as well as common household chemicals, can cause throat irritation.
- Having chronic or frequent sinus infections. Chronic or frequent sinus infections increase the risk of sore throat because drainage from the nose can irritate the throat or spread infection.
- Living or working in close quarters. Viral and bacterial infections spread easily anywhere people gather — child care centers, classrooms, offices, prisons and military installations.
- Having decreased immunity. You're more susceptible to infections in general if your resistance is low. Common causes of lowered immunity include HIV, diabetes, treatment with steroids or chemotherapy drugs, stress, fatigue, and poor diet.
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