Sore Throat - When To See A Doctor?
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When To Visit A Doctor For Sore Throat?
Although a sore throat is not something to be worried about, in some cases it can become severe. Eventually, this makes it difficult for a person to swallow or even speak. In such circumstances, visiting an ENT doctor is a must. In case, in addition to sore throat, an individual is experiencing any one of the following symptoms, get medical help immediately-
● Running a fever higher than 101 degrees F without other symptoms of the common cold
● Symptoms of flu that don’t alleviate after few days such as runny nose, blocked nose, cough
● Soreness stays for over a week
● Postnasal drip, sneezing and itchy eyes
● Difficulty breathing
● Pain that extends till the ear
● Red rashes
● Sore joints
● Stiff neck
● Blood in the saliva or mucus
● Unable to open the mouth properly
What Are The Causes of Sore Throat?
The most common causes of sore throat that result in throat pain include a viral or bacterial invasion. The viruses such as respiratory syncytical virus, adenovirus, Coxsackie virus, coronavirus, parainfluenz, influenza, bocavirus and metapneumovirus.
These viruses and bacteria dampen the body’s infection fighting abilities by impacting the immunity, especially during winters and rainy seasons.
Some of the common causes that result in throat infection and ultimately, soreness in the throat are-
● Tonsillitis in which the tonsils inflame
● Viral infection in the throat such as Cold or flu
● Inflammation of the voice box, also known as laryngitis
● Bacterial infection in the throat, such as strep throat
● Rhinovirus, coronavirus and parainfluenza viruses
● Glandular fever
● Epiglottis in which there is inflammation of the tissue flap
● Quinsy in which there is pus collection at the back of the throat
In addition to this, there are some other contributing factors that are non-infectious in nature that result in a sore throat.
● Irritants such as cigarette smoke or alcohol
● Acid reflux
● Stevens-Johnson syndrome
● Kawasaki disease
● Hay fever
● Irritation from nasogastric tube
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How Long Does a Sore Throat Last?
It depends in the underlying cause responsible for sore throat. A sore throat that results due to viral infection doesn’t require medical treatment and may end in three to ten days. If the cause of sore throat is a bacterial infection, then it is likely to stay longer. When a person is not taking antibiotics for curing bacterial infections, the throat remains sore for a week to 10 days.
What Are The Home Remedies To Try?
With the help of proper home remedies, the soreness can subside. In some cases, it can even cure the throat infection too.
● Drink plenty of warm fluids such as warm water and hot chamomile and garlic tea that can soothe out the pain.
● Breathe moist air from a humidifier to prevent dryness in the throat.
● Don’t put excessive strain on your voice while you are talking.
● Take a tablespoon of honey that coats the throat as honey has anti-bacterial properties.
● Saltwater gargle may act as anti-inflammatory agent.
● Chewing Licorice root may help alleviate pain and act as analgesic.
● Apple cider vinegar with its antibiotic use can help treat the sore throat.
● One simple way to provide transmission of these cold viruses includes Counseling patients about the importance of good hand hygiene.
● Taking a steamy shower also helps to keep the throat linings moist.
● While asleep, keep the head elevated to prevent acid regurgitation.
What Is The Treatment for Sore Throat?
In the majority of the cases, sore throat occur due to viruses. Hence, taking antibiotics in such instances won’t be effective as these medicines only cure bacterial infections. However, in some children and young adults who suffer from sore throat may use over the counter medications like analgesics and can use other medications like lozenges and antiseptic gargles.
Some other proven effective treatment for relieving cold symptoms includes nasal decongestants, zinc, and ipratropium for cough.
In addition to this, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen reduces the inflammation and swelling in the throat. Hence, the soreness or scratchiness also subsides. For children, doctors generally prescribe acetaminophen or ibuprofen. It is recommended not to give aspirin to children as this increases the risk of other diseases such as Reye’s syndrome.
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Sore throat usually cures with home remedies within a week. However, the other causes of sore throat require additional medical treatments. If a child is having difficulty swallowing or even breathing, there is a possibility that the condition has become severe. In case, the patient has begun to drool excessively such that they are unable to swallow their secretions, then its time for severe measures. In case the problem is due to tonsillitis, the doctor may recommend undergoing a tonsillectomy.
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