Sore throat is a common symptom that ranges in seriousness from minimal scratchiness to significant pain. The condition is due to the irritation of the throat. It is important to note that a sore throat might be an initial sign of various ailments such as the flu or common cold. Oftentimes, it might be a sign of a serious condition such as mononucleosis.
Other possible causes of sore throat include:
- Exposure to dry air
- Hay fever
- Swallowing sharp foods that can damage the throat lining
- Cigarette smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
- Postnasal drip
What are the signs?
The usual signs might include the following:
- Raw sensation in the throat that makes swallowing, breathing or soreness while speaking
- Redness of the throat
- Drainage of pus in the throat
- Enlarged, sore lymph nodes in the neck
Management of sore throat
Generally, there is no specific treatment necessary for sore throat due to a virus. In such cases, the throat often gets better on its own within 5-7 days.
If acute pharyngitis is due to bacteria, the doctor provides an antibiotic. The individual will start to feel better after taking the drug for 2-3 days. The prescribed course must be completed to ensure that the sore throat will not return.
Other self-care measures for sore throat include:
- Avoiding or cessation of smoking
- Adequate rest
- Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke and other air pollutants
- Utilize a cool mist humidifier for additional moisture to the air
- Rest the throat by minimizing talking and eat a diet that is mainly comprised of liquid or soft foods for 1-2 days. Avoid spicy or salty foods as well as citrus fruits.
- Over-the-counter throat lozenges as well as a mouthwash can be used to lessen the soreness.
- An over-the-counter pain medication can be given to ease the generalized pain.