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What causes headache and sore throat? 26 possible conditions

See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.


Common Cold Overview

The common cold is a virus that involves symptoms like sneezing, a runny nose and a headache. Learn the causes, symptoms and treatments for the common cold now!

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Cold and Flu Overview

Common colds and influenza are contagious infections that affect the respiratory system. Both are airborne illnesses, spread through coughing and sneezing. Shared symptoms include headache, cough, sore throat, and more.

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Sinus Infections (Sinusitis)

A sinus infection causes the sinuses and nasal passages to become inflamed. Facial swelling is a common sign of this type of infection.

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Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is your body's response to specific allergens. It causes uncomfortable symptoms like sneezing and itchy eyes.

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Swine Flu

Swine flu, also known as H1N1, is a highly contagious virus with symptoms similar to common influenza types. It spreads quickly from person to person, and can linger on tables and surface areas.

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Pharyngitis is inflammation of the pharynx, which is in the back of the throat. It's most often referred to simply as "sore throat" and is very common.

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Strep Throat

Strep throat is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation and pain in the throat. It's especially common in children. Look out for sudden fever, a red throat with white patches, headache, and chills.

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Tonsillitis occurs when the tonsils (the lymph tissue in your throat) become infected. Symptoms include sore throat, fever, and swollen tonsils. Fortunately, it's normally easily diagnosed and treated.

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Bird Flu

Bird flu, also called avian influenza, is a viral infection that can also infect humans and other animals. However, most forms of the virus are restricted to birds. H5N1 is also the most common form of bird flu. No...

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Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus that passes from one person to another through saliva, nasal secretions, and close personal contact.

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Infectious Mononucleosis

Infectious mononucleosis, or "mono," is a group of symptoms caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. One potential symptom is a pink rash that looks like the measles.

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Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a contagious condition that usually affects young children. It presents as a rash on the hands and feet along with blisters in the mouth.

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Fifth Disease

Fifth disease is caused by a virus and mostly affects children. The disease is marked by feeling unwell, often followed by a red rash on the cheeks.

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Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by parasites found in cat feces and undercooked meat, symptoms of which include swollen lymph nodes and fever.

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Weils Disease

Weil's disease is a severe form of the bacterial infection leptospirosis, which can lead to organ failure and bleeding. Symptoms include nausea, fever, headache, and jaundice.

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Acute HIV Infection

Acute HIV infection is the primary stage of infection by the human immunodeficiency virus. There are several telltale symptoms, one of which is a rash.

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Scarlet Fever

Scarlet fever is an infection that may develop after strep throat. It usually affects children between six and 15 years old. It can cause a rash that consists of small red bumps and feels like sandpaper.

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Peritonsillar Abscess

A peritonsillar abscess is usually a complication of tonsillitis or another bacterial infection. Get it treated quickly to avoid potentially serious problems.

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West Nile Virus Infection (West Nile Fever)

Spread by mosquitos, West Nile virus symptoms can vary in severity. Diarrhea and abdominal pain usually appears within two weeks of infection.

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Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection. It is caused by a type of bacteria known as Treponema pallidum. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2006, more than 36,000 cases of syphilis wer...

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This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.