A variety of viruses can cause a sore throat. The duration of soreness is dependent on the virus causing it. Usually, these viruses also cause other symptoms along with sore throat.
The influenza virus is common in the winter months. Along with a fever, body aches and coughing, influenza can cause a sore throat as it is prone to infect and destroy cells of the upper respiratory tract.
Many viruses are being discovered each year that cause common colds at any time of the year. These viruses cause sore throats in addition to runny nose and a low-grade fever.
Many children between the ages of 3 and 10 years will acquire an infection caused by the coxsackie group A virus. This infection is characterized by blisters of the mouth, throat, palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
Infection with the Epstein-Barr virus causes a swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck (the tonsils), which leads to pain and difficulty swallowing. The infection, infectious mononucleosis, is easily transmitted by contact with contaminated saliva.
Viral infections of the throat do not have a cure. Relief of symptoms with medication is the only course of action. There are vaccines against influenza, and proper hygiene can prevent viral infections such as the common cold and infectious mononucleosis.