Q: Good evening, Doc. Please, I’ve been having throat pain. I’ve tried to get a medicine for sore throat. I was relieved but now the throat is paining me again. I’m finding it hard to swallow food. Please ma’am, what is the cause?
A: Sore throat (also called pharyngitis) is pain or irritation in the throat which may worsen when you swallow.
The most common cause of sore throat is viral infection like common cold. This type of sore throat resolves without the use of any medication. As any ardent follower of this page should know by now, viral infections are self-limiting and so they will run their course and stop with or without any treatment. Other causes of sore throat include bacterial infection, irritants (like tobacco smoke), muscle strain (from screaming), allergies etc
Symptoms are typically dry throat, difficulty with swallowing, painful sensation in the throat, hoarse or muffled voice, swollen tonsils on looking into the mouth etc
Treatment for sore throat depends on the cause. However, since most sore throats are caused by viruses, treatment is mainly symptomatic (that means, addressing the symptoms) and includes:
Rest: This helps rest your voice and improve your immunity
Drink lots of fluids to prevent dehydration and gargle with salt water. Please do not swallow the salt water.
Use drugs like ibuprofen or paracetamol for pain and fever.
Use antibiotics ONLY if prescribed by your doctor who believes the cause of the sore throat is a bacterial infection. Suspicion of bacterial infection is made by the doctor if the patient has tender lumps (lymph nodes) on the neck, has fever, has no cough and has pus on the tonsils. If patient has three of these symptoms, the doctor may decide on antibiotics.
Prevention is the same as that for preventing infections generally. Practice good hygiene in all aspects (personal hygiene, hygiene at home, pet hygiene and food hygiene) and this involves:
Hand washing or using hand sanitizers when hand washing is not immediately possible, coughing or sneezing into the crook of the elbow, regularly cleaning ‘forgotten’ surfaces like remote controls, light switches, knobs of cookers etc all help to improve hygiene and prevent viral infections. Avoiding irritants like cigarette smoke, taking it easy during the game even when your team is winning so that you don’t strain your muscle are great ideas that help prevent sore throat.
If you experience difficulty with breathing and/or swallowing, please see your doctor asap.
Have a goodnight, y’all 😀