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Today in Health & Wellness
HEALTH CONDITIONS

Sore Throat

Overview
Symptoms
Risk Factors
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
Home Remedies
Doctors to Consult
Overview

Sore throat is an inflammation in the throat that is commonly caused by viruses or bacteria. Sore throats are usually named based on the part affected: 

  • Pharyngitis is pain and inflammation of the pharynx. 
  • Tonsillitis typically involves inflammation of the tonsils. 
  • Laryngitis is pain and inflammation of the larynx. It is often associated with a hoarse voice. 
  • Croup is a form of laryngitis in children. It tends to be associated with a seal barking-like cough and difficulty inhaling air. 
  • Epiglottitis is a rare type of sore throat inflammation. The inflamed or swollen epiglottis can obstruct or close off the windpipe. It is a medical emergency, which may be fatal unless promptly treated.
Symptoms
  • Pain especially when swallowing
  • Feeling of discomfort and irritation in the throat
  • Tenderness along the neck
  • Fever and chills
  • Enlarged or inflamed pharynx, tonsils, larynx, and epiglottis
Risk Factors
  • Viral or bacterial infection
  • Age: children and teens, and people aged 65 years or older
  • Exposure to someone with a sore throat or any other infection involving the throat, nose, or ears
  • Throat strain from shouting or too much talking
  • Smoking, exposure to cigarette smoke (secondhand smoke), toxic fumes, industrial smoke, and other air pollutants; and dry air
  • Hay fever or other allergies
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) - the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus causes soreness in the throat.
  • Conditions that affect the immune system, such as HIV, AIDS or cancer
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
  • Antibiotics given to treat severe sore throat include amoxicillin and cefalexin.
  • Throat sprays. Examples are preparations containing chamomile extract, peppermint oil, sage oil, pine needle oil, bergamot oil.
  • Mouthwashes, lozenges
Treatment and Management

Usually, a sore throat does not need antibiotics because it heals within days. You only need to see a doctor if the pain or infection is severe or unusual or if it does not disappear within three to four days.

Throat sprays may be used to alleviate pain. They have antiseptic actions and may give soothing sensation to sore throat. Some herbal throat preparations may also help in relieving pain due to their anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and astringent properties.

Home Remedies
  • Wash hands often
  • Increase oral fluid intake
  • Gargle with warm salt-water solution
  • Sucking of medicated lozenges is encouraged to increase saliva production and to prevent the throat from drying
  • Identify and avoid irritants, such as smoke, fumes, or yelling, that cause a sore throat.
  • Do not smoke or use other tobacco products and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Minimize contact with affected people.
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