Yes, it is sore throat or throat infection.
Sore throat is commonly caused by viral, not bacterial infections where antibiotic is not required. Further allergy and acid reflux can also contribute to throat pain. Thus, home remedies are increasingly advised to provide relief from mild throat pain such as gargling with warm salt water and over the counter pain killers.
However, if sore throat is not going away in 5-7 days or you are not able to maintain usual food intake than its time to visit your ENT Specialist for treatment.
Causes of throat pain:
Infection by contagious viruses and bacteria are reasons of majority of throat infection.
Virus infection: Viral infections such as cold, flu, measles, chicken pox and infectious mononucleosis are often associated with throat infection . There could be runny nose, fever, muscle aches and swollen glands in the neck.
Bacterial infection: Strep throat caused by streptococcus bacteria. It is treated by antibiotic as same bacteria can cause scarlet fever or damage heart valves and kidneys. Sending throat swab for bacterial culture is the only way to confirm diagnosis.
Tonsillitis and sinus infection can also cause a sore throat.
Epiglottitis: Epiglottitis is a dangerous type of throat infection and an emergency condition. Symptoms like painful swallowing, drooling of saliva, muffled speech and difficulty in breathing are a few of the symptoms indicating that throat pain could be epiglottitis.
Allergy to dust, pollen and mold are common causes of sore throats.
Irritation caused by dry heat/dry air, smoking, pollutants, chemicals can also result in sore throat.
Acid Reflux, or a regurgitation of stomach content into the throat is a common cause of throat pain, patients usually describe symptoms as feeling of some lump in throat or as if hair is stuck along with pain or raw sensation in throat
Tumors of the throat and tongue can also cause sore throat along with other associated symptoms, important being hoarse voice, difficulty in swallowing, difficulty in breathing , blood from mouth and weight loss.
HIV infection or lowered immunity can also cause a recurrent or chronic sore throat.
When to take appointment of an ENT Specialist?
- Severe and prolonged sore throat more then 3-5 days or recurrent throat pain
- Finding difficulty to breathe
- Swallowing is Difficult
- Difficulty in mouth opening
- Blood in saliva or phlegm
- Joint pain/rashes/High fever
Treatment of sore throat:
Home remedies for sore throat
Mild sore throat associated with runny nose/stuffy nose can be relieved with the following home remedies:
- Proper rest
- Balanced diet with plenty of vitamin and minerals to boost immunity
- Vitamin c and zinc supplements.
- Proper hydration /increase liquid intake
- Warm soups like tomato soup, chicken soup to soothe throat , avoid too hot and too cold food.
- Gargles with warm salt water
- Use of steamer or humidifier
- Avoid smoking and Alcohol
- Take over-the-counter pain killers
Treatment of Throat pain:
If diagnosed as bacterial infection, ENT doctor will prescribe a suitable antibiotic along with supportive medications.
Viral infection lowers your immunity thus, making you susceptible to secondary bacterial infection. Thus doctor may recommend antibiotics at some stage of your viral throat pain.
Antibiotic Resistance and throat pain:
My common observation is patients stop using antibiotic as soon as there is slight relief or do not take it regularly in proper dosage. As a result, throat infection may recur. Thus always complete antibiotic course which could be 7-10 days and take in dosage as advised by your ENT doctor.
Once your throat pain is relieved by home remedies or antibiotics, you can follow these quick tips for prevention of sore throat-Maintain good hygiene. Wash your hands regularly and keep your napkins, towel and soaps separately, do not share these with the person having throat infection.
And Take Flu vaccine.