We’ve all experienced the occasional sore throat. It is often the first sign of a cold and should disappear after a day or two. Occasionally, a sore throat can indicate a more serious illness such as strep throat or tonsillitis. Knowing when to seek medical attention in Abington can help lessen the severity of your ailment and speed up your recovery.
Sore Throat Symptoms and Causes
The most obvious symptom of a sore throat is – duh – soreness. In addition to throat pain, you might experience scratchiness, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, dryness, swollen neck or jaw glands and inflammation of the tonsils. These symptoms might be accompanied by fever, chills, cough, runny nose, sneezing, headache, muscle and joint pain, nausea and vomiting.
Most sore throats are caused by viral infections, colds and flu. Sometimes, bacterial infections are responsible. Other triggers include allergies, acid reflux, environmental irritants, dry air and strained vocal cords. In rare cases a serious disease may be to blame.
Without a medical examination, it’s difficult to determine what is causing your sore throat. In general, strep throat – an infection caused by the streptococcus bacteria – results in a more severe and persistent sore throat. Tonsillitis, an inflammation and infection of the tonsils, is characterized by the appearance of white or gray spots in the back of the throat. When in doubt, it’s best to make an appointment with a Abington ear, nose and throat specialist in order to rule out a serious cause.
How is a Sore Throat Treated?
If your sore throat is related to a virus, it’ll simply run its course in a few days. You can relieve some of the discomfort by gargling with warm salt water, drinking plenty of fluids and using throat lozenges or cough drops to reduce pain and irritation. A humidifier will moisten the air and help prevent your throat from drying out. Over-the-counter pain relievers can also bring relief.
Bacterial infections such as strep throat will need to be treated with antibiotics. Other solutions may be available for less-common causes.
The next time you or a loved one has a sore throat that persists longer than a couple of days, we urge you to make an appointment with your Abington specialist for relief.