A sore throat is usually due to viruses and are frequently associated with the common cold. Throat discomfort will usually subside in a few days, and other cold symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, red or watery eyes, sneezing and congestion may follow. Antibiotics are not effective against a virus and should not be used to treat a cold virus and sore throat. Bacterial infections, such as strep throat, are more severe and these require a course of antibiotic therapy. Other causes of sore throat include smoking, pollution, tobacco irritation, allergies, dry air, reflux or ulcers. A physician can determine if any cultures, diagnostic studies or treatment are needed.