Back to the Basics: Sore Throats by Nick Gonzalez
As the dreary cold and flu season comes to an end, some sit back in relief as they succeeded in escaping the juncture unscathed, though many of us were not so fortunate. One particular symptom of illness we all dislike would probably be a sore throat. Symptoms of sore throats, also known as “pharyngitis,” can be a painful, itchy, and cause a burning sensation at the back of the throat when swallowing. It can be associated with a fever, cough, sneezing, swollen lymph nodes, runny nose, and fatigue.
A sore throat is often caused by a secondary infection or sometimes the result of mechanical factors, such as breathing through the mouth at night, which can dry and irritate the throat. A sore throat may be brought on by other factors, as well, but luckily there are many ways we can battle this pesky infection.
Most sore throats can be treated with home remedies. Some remedies to help a sore throat are:
- Saltwater solution, consisting of 1 tsp of salt to 8oz of warm water. Gargle the water at back of throat. DO NOT swallow the mixture. Gargle 3 to 5 times daily.
- Humidifying a room at bedtime to help soothe the throat throughout the night.
- Throat sprays, like a Chloraseptic spray, can help relieve pain.
- Throat lozenges help relieve pain, as well.
- Herbal teas, such as Green tea and Chamomile, are soothing to the throat.
- Over-the-counter medication, like ibuprofen and Tylenol, relieves some pain and may act as decongestants.
If your symptoms become more severe, you should seek medical attention from a health care professional. Worsened symptoms may include:
- A rapid onset associated with a fever and tenderness around the neck
- Difficulty swallowing and/or breathing
- An ongoing condition that prolongs a single week period
- Tongue and/or lips beginning to swell
From a simple examination of the throat, a physician can determine whether you have a viral or bacterial infection. A rapid strep test may also be administered within a clinic, which is a quick test to determine if you have strep throat. Many believe that when they have a sore throat its strep, but in most cases, that sore throat is actually the result of a viral infection. If diagnosed with a viral infection, the treatment plan is to have the infection runs its course, for the body can resolve the infection internally. If a rapid swab tests positively for strep, in which the infection is bacterial, the treatment plan will be followed by a series of antibiotics.