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Why do I have a sore throat but no fever?

Sick Woman Having Sore Throat
Medically reviewed by Dr. Ola Tarabzuni

Key Takeaways

  • Sore throats without fever can be caused by various factors, including environmental irritants, viral and bacterial infections, allergies, postnasal drip, acid reflux, and even cancer.
  • Prompt medical attention is crucial for persistent sore throats, especially if accompanied by concerning symptoms such as throat swelling, difficulty breathing, or coughing up blood.
  • Understanding the underlying causes and their management is essential to ensure timely and effective treatment for a sore throat.

You can have a sore throat without a fever in case of allergies or viral infections. A rare bacterial infection can sometimes cause a sore throat without fever. Your throat plays a crucial role in passing everything you eat, drink, and breathe. Thus, it can be challenging to ignore the discomfort when it becomes sore or inflamed. While it’s usually associated with a fever as a sign of infection, not all sore throats come with a rise in body temperature. Sore throats without fever can be equally discomforting and have a range of causes. Let’s explore the details of sore throats that occur without fever, exploring the potential causes, their symptoms, and how to manage them effectively.

8 Causes of sore throat without fever

Sore throat, known as pharyngitis, is commonly caused by viruses or bacteria. It often accompanies symptoms like fever, cough, and a runny nose. However, there are instances when sore throat occurs independent of fever, which can be attributed to various factors.


Viruses are the leading cause of sore throats, responsible for many cases. The leading causes include coronavirus, adenovirus, coxsackievirus, rhinovirus, influenza, and Epstein-Barr, common viral strains that can lead to a sore throat called pharyngitis in approximately 50-80% of adults. These infections may also include additional symptoms like a stuffy nose and cough. Viruses also cause colds and are a widespread cause of sore throats, often accompanied by symptoms such as a stuffy nose. The primary focus in managing cold-related sore throats is symptom relief and comfort rather than a cure.

Feeling scratchy in the throat? Get treatment for your sore throat within minutes.

Bacterial infections

While bacterial infections are typically associated with fever, certain bacteria like Group A Streptococcus can cause sore throats without an elevated temperature. Antibiotics, alongside supportive care, are usually recommended for treating bacterial infections that cause sore throats. Additionally, bacteria like chlamydia pneumoniae, mycoplasma pneumoniae, haemophilus influenzae, neisseria meningitidis, neisseria gonorrhoeae, cyanobacterium haemolyticum, fusobacterium necrophorum, and corynebacterium diphtheria can also cause sore throat essentially without fever.


Primarily affecting children, tonsillitis can emerge from both bacterial and viral causes. Symptoms may include red or swollen tonsils, painful swallowing, and halitosis. Bacterial tonsillitis may necessitate antibiotic treatment. The primary function of tonsillitis is to help clear wastes and infections from the body as a part of your lymphatic system. 


Airborne allergens, like pollen and dust, can trigger sore throats in individuals with allergies. Effectively managing allergies and their associated symptoms is pivotal in preventing recurrent sore throats. The most frequent allergic reaction symptoms include postnasal drip, sore throat, sneezing, cough, runny nose, watery eyes, and itching. Allergies cannot be cured but can be managed effectively using antihistamines and other allergy medications. 

Sexually transmitted infections

Certain sexually transmitted infections can manifest with a sore throat as a symptom, predominantly transmitted through oral sex. Safe sexual practices are imperative in preventing these occurrences. It may not be the first symptom when having STIs. However, these infection-causing viruses and bacteria can colonize the mouth and show symptoms in a few days, especially in the case of oral sex. 

Postnasal drip

Excess mucus draining into the back of the throat due to postnasal drip can lead to persistent sore throat. Symptoms may include sore throat, halitosis, and a perpetual need to clear the throat or swallow.

Acid reflux

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can irritate the throat when stomach acids regurgitate into the esophagus. Managing acid reflux often entails lifestyle adjustments and medications. If prolonged, this condition can irritate the stomach lining and cause permanent changes in the esophagus tissue. 


While less common, throat cancer can present as a persistent sore throat affecting 31000 people in the United States. Additional symptoms encompass difficulties in swallowing, voice alterations, and nosebleeds. Risk factors include tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, HPV infection, and poor oral hygiene.

Having persistent sore throat without fever? The cause might be more serious.

How long does it typically take for a sore throat with a fever to go away?

The duration of a sore throat hinges on its underlying cause. While most viral sore throats resolve within 3 to 10 days, bacterial infections or allergies can prolong the duration of symptoms. The doctor may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like naproxen, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen, to ease the symptoms. You need an antibiotic course for a bacterial infection like amoxicillin and penicillin, which sometimes spans around ten days or more.

Therefore, the duration may vary depending on the causal agent. In the case of acute pharyngitis, the recovery time is a few days. However, in the case of chronic conditions, it may take longer for complete recovery. In either case, medications can reduce the duration of the infection and improve symptoms like pain, scratchiness, and difficulty in swallowing. 

When to See a Healthcare Provider

If your sore throat endures or worsens, or you experience symptoms like fever, throat swelling, vomiting or coughing blood, difficulty breathing, weight loss, or severe pain, it’s essential to consult a healthcare provider. Moreover, symptoms such as throat swelling, breathing difficulties, or coughing up blood necessitate immediate medical attention. When in doubt, reaching out to a medical professional for a precise diagnosis and appropriate treatment is advisable.

Are you feeling body aches and throat pain for days now? Get diagnosis and treatment without delay!

FAQs about sore throat but no fever

When should I be worried about a sore throat?

If your sore throat exceeds five days and the symptoms don’t improve, consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. Moreover, if you are accompanied by other symptoms with a sore throat, like a fever of 101 degrees Celsius or higher, see a doctor immediately.

Why do sore throats get worse at night?

If your bedroom is dry, your throat can worsen at night. The best way to moisten the air you breathe is to keep a humidifier on at night to balance the humidity, which can also help ease the throat pain.

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

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  • Mayo Clinic. Sore throat
  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Strep Throat: All You Need to Know
  • Tanz RR. Sore Throat. Nelson Pediatric Symptom-Based Diagnosis. 2018:1–14.e2. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-323-39956-2.00001-7. Epub 2017 May 12. PMCID: PMC7152117.
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