A sore throat is a painful but common affliction that everyone suffers from on occasion. It may be the first sign of a cold, the result of strained vocal cords or a symptom of a more serious condition such as strep throat.
Symptoms of a sore throat include pain, scratchiness, dry throat, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, swollen neck or jaw glands and swollen or inflamed tonsils. You may also have a fever, chills, cough, runny nose, sneezing, headache, muscle and joint aches, nausea and vomiting.
Causes of Chronic Sore Throat
Most sore throats are the result of viral infections, often related to the common cold or flu. Bacterial infections can also lead to sore throats. Some of the more common ones include strep throat, tonsillitis, whooping cough and diphtheria.
A sore throat is considered chronic when it lasts for more than three months. Typical factors that can cause a long-lasting sore throat include allergies, acid reflux, environmental irritants, dry air and strained vocal cords. Occasionally a more serious condition, such as a tumor or HIV, can cause a sore throat.
Treatment & Prevention
Home remedies are often the most effective treatment method for a sore throat. Try gargling with warm salt water periodically throughout the day. Make sure you drink plenty of liquids, and use throat lozenges and cough drops to relieve soreness and irritation. A humidifier is often helpful. Over-the-counter pain relievers and decongestants are beneficial at providing relief as well. If your sore throat is caused by a bacterial infection, you will need to treat it with antibiotics.
There are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing a sore throat in the future. Practice good hygiene by washing your hands frequently with warm water and soap, cough or sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve and do not share food or utensils with others who are sick.
In order to treat a chronic sore throat, your physician must first determine the cause. The first step involves reviewing your medical history and completing a physical exam. Additional tests are often required to further narrow down the cause.
Contact Sacramento Ear, Nose & Throat for more information or to schedule an appointment.