Treating a Sore ThroatThere are many causes of sore throat, the most common of which are colds and the flu. Other causes can include strep throat, allergies, smoking, tonsillitis, and mononucleosis. Sore throat is also called Pharyngitis.
A sore throat may be a symptom of a more serious infection or condition, such as strep throat or tonsillitis. Symptoms that commonly accompany a sore throat include:
- Swelling and pain in the throat and tonsils
- Body aches or headaches
- Sores in the mouth, white patches on the tonsils
- Persistent cough or runny nose
If you have a bacterial of viral infection, if you are a smoker or suffer from allergies, you are at risk for a sore throat.
Treatment of Condition
Treatment of a sore throat varies depending on the cause. If you have a bacterial infection such as strep throat, your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics. If your sore throat is caused by a virus, gargling with salt water and over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen will relive most pain and accompanying symptoms of a sore throat. If your sore throat is caused by allergies, your doctor may prescribe medicines for your allergies or recommend over-the-counter medications to help deal with your allergy triggers. In extreme cases, if you have recurring instances of sore throat from tonsillitis, you may have to have your tonsils surgically removed.
When should I see a doctor?
- If a severe sore throat and fever over 101 degrees lasts longer than one or two days, seek medical attention, as this is probably a sign of serious infection.
- If you have difficulty sleeping because your throat is blocked by swollen tonsils, seek medical attention.
- If a red rash that feels like sandpaper appears, it is a sign of scarlet fever and should be treated immediately.
For more information on sore throats, see the following websites:
- "Have a Sore Throat? Know When It's Time to Call the Doctor"
- Medline Plus (NIH) Sore Throat Page
- Throat Problems Chart from FamilyDoctor.org
- "Sore Throat: Easing the Pain of a Sore Throat"
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