Why are red spots on my throat?

Red spots on the back of your throat could be a sign of infection or another medical condition.

Other symptoms you may experience alongside these spots include:

Do not self-diagnose. Your doctor will be able to diagnose the cause of these red spots.

4 Causes of red spots on the throat

Red spots on the back of your throat and the roof of your mouth may be an indication of a viral or bacterial infection. There are many conditions associated with this sign.

1. Strep throat

Strep throat is a common bacterial infection that affects people of all ages. It’s commonly characterized by a sore, scratchy throat. Prior to giving a full diagnosis, your doctor may also notice red spots toward the back of the roof of your mouth.

Other strep throat symptoms are:

2. Herpangina

Herpangina is a viral infection that can cause blister-like ulcers on the roof of your mouth and at the back of the throat. It most often affects children.

Additional symptoms from this infection include:

  • sudden fever
  • headache
  • sore throat
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • neck pain

3. Hand, foot, and mouth disease

The contagious hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFM) is a viral infection that can cause a rash on the hands, feet, and mouth. Similar to herpangina, this infection can also cause red spots and blisters on the throat.

HFM can easily spread through contact with unwashed hands, feces, nose mucus, and spit. Children under the age of 5 are most at risk.

Other symptoms associated with this infection include:

4. Oral cancer

Early signs of oral cancer include sores, red or white patches in your mouth or your throat, and pain that doesn’t go away. Age, eating, smoking, and drinking alcohol can increase your risk of developing this disease. Cancer is deadly, so early detection is crucial.

If you have red spots on your throat and these other symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor:

Diagnosis and treatment

Treating your red spots depends on the underlying cause. Before recommending treatment, your doctor may run a series of tests and cultures to rule out other illnesses.

If diagnosed with a bacterial infection, your doctor will prescribe antibiotic medication and may recommend pain relievers. You can also find over-the-counter medication to reduce pain, fever, and other symptoms.

If you’re diagnosed with a chronic illness or disease, discuss your options with your doctor. If your doctor suspects oral cancer is causing the red spots, they may perform a biopsy to get a proper diagnosis. Treatment for oral cancer may include more surgery and chemotherapy.


Red spots in your mouth and on your throat are often treatable. In some cases, they will disappear on their own. Early diagnosis of the infection or disease causing this sign can help doctors prescribe you the best treatment.

If your spots do not go away, you should call your doctor regardless of whether they’re causing you pain or discomfort.