Sore throat is a common condition usually indicative of a flu or a cold. It is a sign that the body is infected, and the infection may be mild, or moderate or it could be a sign of a serious condition.
What is a Sore Throat?
A sore throat is a scratchy, itchy feeling at the back of your throat that occurs as a consequence of an infection, usually by bacteria. It is sometimes followed by a fever and is a manifestation of a cold or flu or some other disease. It could also occur due to exposure to polluted air, pollen, perfumes, etc.
Causes of a Sore Throat
As discussed above, a sore throat can be caused by infection or irritation or it could be an indication of something more serious. Consult the Best ENT Specialist in Lahore for the treatment of sore throat if your health deteriorates. The following are the causes of sore throat:
- Flu caused by influenza virus
- A sore throat can be caused by Streptococcus pyogenes which is a bacteria that can cause severe manifestations if not treated properly
- Chickenpox and measles
- STDs like gonorrhoea and chlamydia
- Exposure to irritants like polluted air, perfume, pollen, smoke, etc.
- Excessive use of vocal cords
- GERD or acidity of the stomach
- Tumor of the throat, vocal chord, or tongue
Risk factors of a Sore Throat
Some risk factors for a sore throat include
- Children are the most susceptible to having a sore throat as their immunity is low. (Especially a strep sore throat). Similarly, old age is a risk factor for sore throat.
- Cold weather brings cold and flu with it and so there is an increased incidence of sore throat in this weather. In spring, the pollen in the air is the source of sore throat.
- People who smoke more have more chances of getting a sore throat, and people who are exposed to this smoke as well as harmful pollutants in the air are also a victim of this.
- Overuse of vocal cords in professions like teaching or singing can increase the chances of sore throat.
- Overcrowding in schools and poor socioeconomic conditions and poor hygiene increase the incidence of sore throat.
Symptoms of a Sore Throat
The symptoms of a sore throat are a burning, starchy raw throat that is painful on swallowing but it is also associated with other symptoms like:
- Fever may be low grade or high grade depending on the causative organism. It may be accompanied by chills.
- Cough because of irritated throat
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Swollen glands in the neck like in mumps.
- Body ache
- Reduced appetite
- Hoarse throat if vocal cords are involved
Diagnosing a Sore Throat
A sore throat is usually examined by your physician who will take your history in detail. Then the physician with examine the throat and look for redness and swelling in the throat, and will also feel your neck for any swelling or tenderness.
While this examination is usually enough, in certain situations like in the case of suspected strep. For infection, the doctor will also take a throat culture for diagnosis. The treatment is planned accordingly after the result has been obtained from the lab.
Diagnosing a sore throat and finding its causative agent is extremely important because some types of sore throat (like streptococcus pyogenes) can be fatal in later life if left untreated. An ENT Specialist in Karachi can help diagnose a sore throat and recommend an adequate treatment for it.
Treatment of Sore Throat
Usually, a viral sore throat resolves on its own after 7 days. You can treat the discomfort caused by the sore throat. In case of pain, you can take an over-the-counter medication like paracetamol. You can use lozenges to soothe the throat or you can consume tea with ginger or do warm gargles.
In case of a bacterial infection, you need antibiotics depending upon the severity of the infection.
Sore throat caused by other conditions like GERD, STDs, or a tumor is dealt with accordingly.
Sore throat is a common condition caused by viruses, bacteria, or irritation in the environment. It is a scratchy and itchy feeling at the back of the throat and can be accompanied by a cold, flu, or fever. It is very important to find the cause of sore throat and treat it accordingly otherwise some types of sore throat may lead to complications.