Sore throat is an uncomfortable condition that often causes pain upon swallowing. Sore throats are usually the result of either viral infections, such as the common cold and flu, or bacterial infections, such as strep throat. In other cases, allergies, irritants such as chemicals or smoke, or very dry air may be responsible. Most sore throats will resolve within a few days with adequate rest, fluids and use of over-the-counter pain relievers as needed. If strep throat is the cause, antibiotics are necessary. You should visit your doctor if a sore throat lasts longer than a week, you have difficulty breathing, have a fever of 100.5 degrees F or higher, develop a rash or exhibit symptoms of dehydration.