There are many different types of throat infections. Viruses, often referred to as “common cold viruses” are the most common cause of throat infections. Other viruses can cause throat infections including coxackie virus and herpes family viruses. Various bacteria can cause throat infections. Many people have heard of “strep throat”. The typical bacteria causing strep throat is Group A beta hemolytic strep, but there are other types of “strep” bacteria that can be found in the throat. Strep bacteria can often be identified on a throat culture. Thrush is a type of fungal infection of the throat caused by candida albicans. Thrush can be seen in patients who have recently been treated with antibiotics or who chronically use inhaled steroids for conditions such as asthma. Thrush can also occur in the setting of immunocompromised patients such as with HIV or with patients on immunosuppressant medications.
A thorough examination and throat culture will generally help to determine the type of throat infection.
The recommended treatment will depend on the type of throat infection. Antibiotics are not necessarily indicated for all throat infections, only for certain types.