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Sore throat

sore-throat

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By Medicover Hospitals / 12 Jan 2021
Home | symptoms | sore-throat
  • Pain or irritation in the throat that can occur with or without swallowing often accompanies infections, such as a cold or the flu. A sore throat can have causes that are not due to an underlying disease. Examples include excessive use of the voice, a burn from hot food, a very dry mouth, or sleeping with your mouth open.
  • Article Context:

    1. What is a sore throat?
    2. Causes
    3. Diagnosis
    4. Treatment
    5. When to visit a Doctor?
    6. Home remedies
    7. FAQ's

    What is a sore throat?

    • A sore throat is a feeling of pain, dryness, or itching in the throat.
    • Sore pain is one of the most common symptoms. It represents more than 13 million visits to medical offices each year
    • Mostly by infections or by environmental factors like dry air causes sore throats. Although a sore throat can be uncomfortable, it will usually go away on its own.
    • Mostly by infections or by environmental factors like dry air causes sore throats.
    • Sore throats are divided into types, depending on the part of the throat they affect:
      • The area behind the mouth is affected by pharyngitis.
      • Tonsillitis is swelling and redness of the tonsils, the soft tissue at the back of the mouth.
      • Laryngitis is the swelling and redness in the voice box or larynx.

    Causes:

  • The viruses that cause colds and the flu also cause most sore throats. Less frequently, bacterial infections can cause sore throats.
  • Viral infections:

  • Viral conditions that cause a sore throat include:
    • Cold
    • Flu
    • Mononucleosis
    • Measles
    • Chickenpox
    • COVID-19
    • Croup — a common childhood illness characterized by a severe, barking cough

    Bacterial infections:

  • Several bacterial infections can cause a sore throat. Strep throat is caused by the most common bacterial infections is group A streptococcus
  • Other Causes:

  • Other causes of a sore throat include:
    • The allergies: If your allergic to pet dander, mold, dust, and pollen can also cause a sore throat. The problem may be complicated by a postnasal drip, which can irritate and inflame the throat.
    • Dryness: Dry indoor air can make your throat rough and itchy. Breathing through your mouth - often due to chronic nasal congestion - can also cause a dry throat and sore throat.
    • Irritants: Outdoor air pollution such as chemicals in which are released in the air and indoor pollution such as tobacco smoke can cause a chronic sore throat. Throat pain is also caused by Chewing tobacco, drinking alcohol, and eating spicy foods.
    • Muscle fatigue: AYou can strain the muscles in your throat by screaming, talking loudly, or talking for long periods without rest.
    • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): GERD is a disorder of the digestive system in which stomach acids travel up through the food tract (esophagus). Other signs or symptoms may include heartburn, hoarseness, regurgitation of stomach contents, and a feeling of a lump in the throat.
    • HIV infection: A sore throat and other flu-like symptoms sometimes appear soon after a person becomes infected with HIV. Additionally, a person with HIV may have a chronic or recurring sore throat due to a fungal infection called oral thrush or a viral infection called cytomegalovirus (CMV). This can be serious in people with weakened immune systems.
    • Tumors: Cancerous tumors in the throat, tongue, or larynx can cause a sore throat. Other signs or symptoms may include hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, loud breathing, a lump in the neck, and blood in the saliva or phlegm.
  • Rarely, an infected area of ​​tissue in the throat or swelling of the small cartilage “lid” that covers the epiglottis can cause a sore throat. Both can block the airways, creating a medical emergency.
  • Diagnosis:

  • To diagnose the cause of a sore throat, the doctor will ask for a detailed history of the disease and perform a physical exam. Since most cases of sore throat are associated with infections, your doctor may order tests to differentiate between a bacterial or viral infection. If your doctor suspects that you have strep throat, he or she will usually do a quick strep test. The results only take a few minutes and can usually be obtained during an office visit. A throat culture can be sent to the lab for a definitive assessment for strep throat if the initial rapid strep test is negative. Usually, culture results are available within 24-48 hours. Usually, no further testing is necessary, depending on the details of the medical history and the results of a physical exam. Your doctor may need to order additional tests to help determine the cause of the sore throat, such as:
    • Blood tests.
    • CT scan or x-ray of the throat and neck to assess other various causes of a sore throat.
    • In some cases, a specialist may be recommended based on symptoms and presumptive diagnosis.

    Treatment:

    • A sore throat caused by a viral infection usually lasts 5-7 days and does not require any medical treatment.
    • To relieve pain and fever, many people turn to acetaminophen or other mild pain relievers.
    • Consider giving your child over-the-counter pain relievers designed for infants or children, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to relieve symptoms.
    • Never give aspirin to children or adolescents, as it has been linked to Reye's syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal disease that causes swelling of the liver and brain.

    Treat bacterial infections:

    • A sore throat caused by a viral infection usually lasts 5-7 days and does not require any medical treatment.
    • To relieve pain and fever, many people turn to acetaminophen or other mild pain relievers.
    • Consider giving your child over-the-counter pain relievers designed for infants or children, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to relieve symptoms.
    • Never give aspirin to children or adolescents, as it has been linked to Reye's syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal disease that causes swelling of the liver and brain.

    Other treatments:

  • If a sore throat is a symptom of a condition other than a viral or bacterial infection, other treatments may be considered according to the diagnosis.
  • When to visit a Doctor?

  • A sore throat caused by a viral infection usually improves on its own within two to seven days. Still, some causes of sore throat need to be treated.
  • Call your physician if you have any of these potentially more serious symptoms:
    • severe sore throat
    • difficulty swallowing
    • difficulty breathing or pain when you breathe
    • difficulty opening your mouth
    • joint pain
    • a fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit
    • sore or stiff neck
    • earache
    • blood in your saliva or phlegm
    • a sore throat that lasts for over a week

    Home Remedies:

  • You can treat most sore throats at home. Get enough rest to give your immune system a chance to fight infection.
  • To get relief from sore throat:
    • Gargle with a mixture of lukewarm water and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt.
    • Drink hot liquids that soothe the throat, such as hot tea with honey, soup broth, or lukewarm water with lemon. Herbal teas are particularly soothing for sore throats.
    • Cool your throat with a cold treat like a popsicle or ice cream.
    • Suck a chunk of hard candy or a lozenge.
    • Turn on the cool fog humidity to add moisture to the air.
    • Rest your voice until your throat feels better.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Drinking caffeine-free tea with lemon juice and honey, hot liquids with lemon and honey, or hot soup broth can relieve a sore throat. Hot fluids also help thin sinus mucus, which allows for better drainage and reduction.
  • Many people turn to orange juice when they have a cold as a source of vitamin C. However, citrus juices can make sore throats worse because of their acidity.
  • Sore throat, also known as pharyngitis, can be acute, lasting only a few days, or chronic, linger until its underlying cause is treated. Most sore throats are a result of common viruses and go away on their own in 3 - 10 days. A sore throat caused by bacterial infection or allergies can last longer.
  • A sore throat can be a sign of a serious health problem. If your signs have lasted for a few days or more and get worse, contact your physician. You should also see your physician if you have difficulty swallowing or breathing.
  • If the air in your home is dry, your nasal passages and throat could dry out overnight, causing you to wake up with a sore throat or irritation. It is common for indoor air to be dry during the winter months. Running your heating system overnight dries it out further.
  • Citations:

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2231494/
  • https://associationofanaesthetists-publications.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1046/j.1365-2044.1999.00780.x