Sore Throat

What is Sore Throat?

A sore throat (also known as pharyngitis or tonsillitis ) is a disease primarily located in the area around the tonsils. It can be caused by both a virus and a bacteria. A sore throat is partly a disease in itself and partly an effect of other diseases such as flu and glandular fever .

The disease is normally seen in children and young people but it can occur at any age. The characteristics of the disease are discomfort, throat pain and trouble swallowing. If the disease is due to bacteria it can be treated with antibiotics. Usually there are no complications.

What are the causes of Sore Throat?

Sore throat is a symptom of many medical disorders. Infections cause the majority of sore throats and are contagious. While bacteria respond to antibiotic treatment, viruses do not.

Common causes of sore throat are-

  • Breathing through the mouth (can cause drying and irritation of the throat).
  • Viral pharyngitis.
  • Influenza.
  • Strep throat (caused by streptococcal bacteria).
  • Infectious mononucleosis.
  • Fish, chicken bone, or other foreign substance stuck in the throat. (For emergency actions, see choking child or adult or CPR ).
  • Endotracheal intubation (tube insertion).
  • Surgery such as tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy.
  • Common cold.

What are the symptoms of Sore Throat?

Symptoms of a sore throat caused by bacteria or a virus can include:

  • Painful red throat.
  • Swollen tonsils.
  • Difficulty in swallowing.
  • Fever.
  • Headache.
  • Swollen lymph glands and neck stiffness.
  • possibly a high temperature

What treatment can be done for Sore Throat?

Sore throats caused by a virus do not respond to antibiotics but there are several measures that can be taken to help reduce the discomfort:

  • Gargle with a cup of warm water and 1/2 a teaspoon of salt.
  • Suck throat lozenges or use throat sprays.
  • Use a pain reliever such as paracetamol every four hours.
  • Drink plenty of water, soft drinks or milkshakes (water or electrolyte solutions are best if the patient is vomiting).
  • Eat soft foods such as ice cream, soups and mashed vegetables.
  • Avoid smoking because this can cause further throat irritation.