Everyone experiences sore throat, especially during a cold infection. Many times, it’s hard to decide whether one has a viral or bacterial infection leading to a sore throat. This article will cover some information that will help you learn more about a sore throat.
What is a Sore Throat?
The itchy, irritating, scratchy and painful sensation in the throat is referred to as sore throat. It makes it very difficult to swallow and the throat feels dry and scratchy. It usually lasts for a few days and can be managed with simple remedies.
Symptoms of Sore Throat
Some of the signs that indicate you have a sore throat include:
- Pain in the throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Throat turns reddish and swollen
- Feels like the throat is coated white
- Hoarse or muffled voice
- Swollen lymph nodes under the jaw and/or neck
- Sore throat due to a Streptococcal infection causes swelling of the tonsils, along with fever, foul-smelling breath, coated throat and makes the person feel very sick
- Coxsackie virus infection leads to small blisters on the tonsils and soft palate. It will rupture in a few days and lead to a painful scab
- A simple viral infection will cause mild symptoms of sore throat accompanied with a common cold
Causes of Sore Throat
Sore throat can occur due to a variety of reasons.
Viral infection that causes common cold usually leads to a sore throat. Other viral infections that can lead to sore throat include:
Bacterial infection can also lead to a sore throat. Usually, bacterial infections lead to more severe symptoms than viral infections. These infections include:
There are various other causes apart from an infection that can lead to a sore throat. These include:
- Allergies to molds, dust, pollen, pet dander, etc.
- Dry indoor air can make the throat scratchy and rough
- Pollution, tobacco smoke, chemical fumes, chewing tobacco, spicy foods, alcohol, etc. are irritants that cause discomfort in the throat
- Strain on the throat muscles by screaming loudly or talking for long periods can lead to hoarseness and throat pain
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) where the stomach acid back flows into the food pipe leading to heartburn, hoarseness, a lump in the throat like feeling
- Throat tumors, including tongue or voice box cancer can cause sore throat as well as difficulty swallowing.
Diagnosis of Sore Throat
In most cases, sore throat does not require any medical help. However, when the symptoms persist and cause a lot of discomfort, one should visit the doctor. The doctor will look at your throat, ears and nasal passages. He will also check for swollen lymph nodes as well as take a throat swab to check for bacterial infection. He may even carry out other tests such as complete blood count (CBC) as well as an allergy test.
Treatment for Sore Throat
Sore throat usually lasts for 5 to 7 days and does not need specific treatment. However, in some cases, treatment is required. Some of the treatments for sore throat include:
- Bacterial infection is treated with the help of antibiotics. The medication is to be taken according to the prescribed dose and time. This will help prevent the infection from recurring.
- Viral infection is usually allowed to run its course. Decongestants, as well as pain relievers will be prescribed to ease the symptoms.
Apart from these treatments, there are various other home remedies that will help you get relief from a sore throat. These include:
- Eating cool and soft foods, drinking warm drinks and sucking on ice cubes, lozenges, hard sweets, etc.
- One should gargle with warm, salty water to reduce the swelling and pain
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water to flush out the toxins and bacterial infection.
- Avoid smoking and dusty environments
- Avoid allergens and irritants
Sore throat is easily treatable and mostly gets resolved on its own. If the sore throat lasts more than a week, it is better to visit a doctor and get medical help.
Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: January 29, 2015