Posts for tag: Sore Throat
It started as a small itch, but now it’s completely bloomed into a sore throat. Do you know the best way to treat it? No matter the cause, your doctor can help you alleviate the pain.
What Could Be Causing Your Sore Throat
The first step in figuring out how to treat your sore throat is determining its source. A sore throat can be a symptom of many different issues, such as smoking or allergies, but the three most common causes are—
A cold: Often, a sore throat is just the first sign of a viral cold. You’ll know if this is the case for you if the pain subsides after a day or two and if you begin exhibiting other cold symptoms, like a runny nose or cough.
Strep throat: Caused by an infection of the streptococcus bacteria passed through saliva and nasal secretions, strep throat is a more severe cause of a sore throat. Other symptoms common to it are white spots on your throat area, fever, and swollen lymph nodes in your neck.
Tonsillitis: This is a very painful sore throat caused by an inflammation of the tonsils from an infection by viruses or bacteria. Tonsillitis’s biggest additional symptom is swollen tonsils with white or yellow spots, but others are bad breath and an impaired voice from the swelling.
What You Can Do at Home
If your sore throat is caused by a virus, there isn’t much you can do other than let the virus run its course. But no matter what is causing your sore throat, there are steps you can take at home to ease your pain and help you get better, including:
∙ Get plenty of sleep and avoid speaking more than necessary
∙ Drink lots of fluids to keep your throat moist and you hydrated. Just avoid dehydrating liquids like coffee and alcohol.
∙ Stick to soothing foods and beverages. This includes warm liquids like soup or water with honey and cool treats like Jell-O or ice cream.
∙ Gargle with saltwater—¼–½tspn sea salt to 4–8oz warm water.
Lozenges and over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can also help alleviate a sore throat, but be cautious if you’re treating your child.
Treatment from Your Doctor
You should see your doctor as soon as possible if you are dealing with a severe or persistent sore throat. A rapid strep test is often needed to diagnose strep throat, and only your doctor can tell for sure if you have tonsillitis and if it is from a bacteria or virus. If the cause of a sore throat is bacteria, your doctor will prescribe you antibiotics like penicillin or amoxicillin to kill it. Always take all of the medication as prescribed, even if you already feel better, and stay home until 24 hours after starting the antibiotic.
Sore throats can definitely be painful but they don’t have to be frustrating or a cause for worry. If you have any questions or concerns about a sore throat or any other symptoms, don’t hesitate to call your doctor today.
While often a condition which resolves itself within a few days, a sore throat can sometimes be the sign of other underlying conditions. However, learning how to spot signs that you should consult with your doctor while experiencing a sore throat can help you catch conditions early and get the treatment you need. Learn more about sore throats and their causes with Dr. Pankaj Gupta at Wake Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists in Cary, NC.
What causes a sore throat?
Some cases of sore throats come from simply singing along too loudly to your favorite song. However, there are other, more serious causes which are important to recognize early, including:
- Viral Infections: From the common cold to mononucleosis, a viral infection is the most common cause of a sore throat. Viral infections do not respond to antibiotics.
- Bacterial Infections: Bacterial infections can cause conditions like tonsillitis and strep throat and are often treated with antibiotics.
- Trauma or Injury: Swallowing a too-big piece of food or other injuries to the throat can cause pain and discomfort.
- Toxins: Toxins or irritants can cause a sore throat. Smoking cigarettes, pollution, and medical conditions like allergies fall into this category.
When should I see my doctor about my sore throat?
If you have a sore throat, it may clear up on its own with some simple at-home treatments like gargling with warm salt water, stopping smoking, letting your voice rest, or drinking warm fluids like tea. However, if you experience a sore throat which lasts more than a few days or is accompanied by a fever or rash, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. You should also see your doctor if your sore throat keeps you up at night, blocks your airway making it difficult to breathe, or is very severe.
Sore Throat Treatments in Cary, NC
Treatments for a sore throat depends greatly on the underlying cause of the condition. For example, if a bacterial infection causes your sore throat, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to clear it up. However, if a condition like tonsillitis, caused by a viral infection which does not respond to antibiotics, causes repeated sore throat attacks, you may require a surgery to remove the tonsils called a tonsillectomy. Consult with your doctor for the best treatment plan for your sore throat.
For more information on sore throats, please contact Dr. Pankaj Gupta at Wake Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists in Cary, NC. Call (919) 851-5636 to schedule your appointment with your doctor today!