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Sore Throat

What is Sore Throat?sore throat

Pharyngitis or sore throat is a condition caused by a swelling of the throat which results in pain, burning, trouble swallowing, and sensitivity of the neck. Sore throat may also be associated with side effects of an itching of the throat causing a cough, sneezing, inflammation of lymph nodes and an increase in temperature or fever. Soreness of the throat can be produced by several factors including:

  • viral infections such as mononucleosis (mono) or the flu
  • infections caused by bacteria such as Streptococcus (strep throat) and Arcanobacterium haemolyticum
  • allergies and drainage or tonsil infections
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in which acid levels are too high and may damage the throat
  • smoking, tobacco use or dryness of the throat
  • vomiting
  • chemotherapy treatments, antibiotics, or immune-system suppressants
  • cancer or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)

Sudden or persistent soreness of the throat (lasting over 10 days) requires medical attention. This condition could be a sign of more serious health problems.

How is Sore Throat Treated?

Irritation from a sore throat may be reduced by gargling salt water, drinking herbal teas and using medicines. Soreness can be treated through the use of lozenges, hard candies, sprays or a humidifier (machine that creates moisture). For decreasing pain, patients may be prescribed daily usage of acetaminophen or ibuprofen medicines.

To properly treat a sore throat, it is important to know the cause of the condition. Patients who suffer from drainage may need to take decongestants or nasal sprays to effectively end throat soreness.