What Causes A Sore Throat
Most sore throats are caused by viruses, such as the cold or flu virus. Some of the more serious causes of sore throat include tonsillitis, strep throat, and mononucleosis . Other causes include smoking, mouth breathing at night while you sleep, pollution, and allergies to pets, pollens and molds. General anesthesia during surgery can cause a sore throat.
When To See Your Doctor
You must see your doctor if you or a family member experiences any of the following:
- a sore throat that lasts more than a few days
- difficulty swallowing
- your tonsils are enlarged or coated
- a high temperature
- swelling in your neck
- earache or joint pain.
If your child is Mori or Pacific, aged 4 to 19 years, lives in certain parts of the North Island and has a sore throat, please get it checked straight away. They are at risk of a serious but preventable illness called rheumatic fever.
Call Healthline if you are unsure what you should do.
What Is A Sore Throat
A sore throat means that your throat hurts. It feels irritated or scratchy. You may feel mild discomfort or a burning pain. A sore throat may feel worse when you swallow. Possible complications from a sore throat include ear and sinus infections. Another complication is an abscess near your tonsils.
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How Can I Prevent From Getting A Sore Throat 12 Ways
Often, certain causes of sore throats can be prevented since the most common cause are infections. Whether a sore throat is caused by a viral infection or strep throat, you can help prevent getting or transmitting the infection to others.
12 ways to prevent a sore throat
Certain measures to help prevent less common causes of sore throats include:
Viral And Bacterial Infections
If your throat pain is caused by an infection, you will probably have other symptoms. These may include:
- Sore muscles
See a doctor if you have extreme pain or severe swelling of the tonsils. Throat pain accompanied by a rash is often bacterial. A doctor can decide if you need antibiotics.
It is hard to tell the difference between bacterial and viral throat pain. Strep throat can lead to serious complications if left untreated, so when in doubt, get tested.
Almost any healthcare provider can perform a strep test. This includes family practitioners and urgent care providers.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Odynophagia
You may feel the pain high in your neck or lower down behind your breastbone. The pain often feels like a strong sensation of squeezing or burning, and it is most often triggered or worsened by eating certain foods.
If the pain is associated with some kind of infection, you may experience additional symptoms, such as:
Some of the most common causes of painful swallowing include:
- Common cold
- Chronic cough
- Oral thrush
Other causes may include swollen lymph nodes in the neck, some kind of throat injury, an ear infection, and swallowing large chunks of foods or medicines.
Pain When Swallowing: Home Remedies Causes And Symptoms
Much like breathing, the act of swallowing is so basic yet necessary that we do it without even realizing it. However, this fundamental function can be rendered quite difficult and painful if your throat becomes too dry or you contract an illness that affects your ability to swallow.
Painful swallowing, also called odynophagia, refers to any kind of pain or discomfort that one experiences while swallowing food or drinking liquid. This is a common problem that is usually symptomatic of some other ailment and is prevalent in people of all ages.
Swallowing problems generally tend to be temporary and short lived, but in some cases, the discomfort may be associated with a more serious underlying medical condition.
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How Can I Take Care Of Myself
Follow the full treatment prescribed by your health-care provider.
For a sore throat:
- Make sure you have enough fluids. Drink clear soup, cold drinks, and other clear, nutritious liquids. If eating hurts your throat, dont force yourself to eat solid food. When you are able to eat more foods, choose healthy food to give you strength and to help fight the infection.
- Do not smoke. Do not breathe second-hand smoke.
- Gargle with salt water.
- Suck on lozenges or hard candy.
- Dont talk a lot. Rest your voice.
- Use a cool mist humidifier or vaporizer to add moisture to the air.
- Put warm compresses on your neck.
If you have a fever, rest and limit your activities until the fever is gone. You can take acetaminophen, or ibuprofen, to reduce your fever and to relieve pain. Anyone under age 18 with a fever should not take aspirin because it increases the risk of Reyes syndrome.
Symptoms Of Sore Throat
A sore throat can make it painful to swallow. A sore throat can also feel dry and scratchy. Sore throat can be a symptom of strep throat, the common cold, allergies, or other upper respiratory tract illness. Sore throat caused by a virus or the bacteria called group A Streptococcus can have similar symptoms.
Sometimes the following symptoms suggest a virus is causing the illness instead of Strep throat:
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How To Feel Better
Some ways you can feel better when you have a sore throat:
- Suck on ice chips, popsicles, or lozenges .
- Use a clean humidifier or cool mist vaporizer.
- Gargle with salt water.
- Drink warm beverages and plenty of fluids.
- Use honey to relieve cough for adults and children at least 1 year of age or older.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist about over-the-counter medicines that can help you feel better. Always use over-the-counter medicines as directed.
Sharp Pain In Throat When Swallowing On One Side
Pain that appears on one side is typically caused by inflamed tonsils, lymph nodes and lymphatic tissue. This can be caused by particles becoming caught and inflamed in this tissue or a bacterial or viral infection. A sore throat can be caused by a localized infection that may cause only one side of the throat to become inflamed. A variety of conditions can cause this type of infection, each with a slightly varied set of symptoms. These conditions include:
This occurs when your tonsils become inflamed from an infection, whether it be from a virus or bacteria. A severe sore throat on the left side or right side or throughout the entire throat is experienced.This condition can cause a throat to be very painful on one side. Peritonsillar is a complication of tonsillitis which develops a pus-filled sore near the tonsils.
Is a bacterial infection that targets one side of the throat region and sometimes will begin on one side and spread over to the other side.
This is a condition where the calluses that appear on the vocal cord after a continuous use of the voice with little rest. They can make one side of the throat very sore.
Swollen lymph nodes from an illness such as a cold or ear infection can be felt on either side at times. When the neck lymph nodes become enlarged, they are usually felt more on one side.
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Symptoms Of A Sore Throat
A sore throat means that your throat hurts and is irritated, swollen, or scratchy. It usually hurts worse when you swallow. Depending on the cause of your sore throat, symptoms include:
- White spots on your throat or tonsils
- Red, swollen tonsils
- Swollen glands in your neck
- Skin rash
In some cases, additional symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Joint or muscle pain
Symptoms Of Strep Throat
The most common symptoms of strep throat include:
- Sore throat that can start very quickly
- Pain when swallowing
- Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus
- Tiny red spots on the roof of the mouth
- Swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck
Sometimes someone with strep throat also has a rash known as scarlet fever .
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How Is A Sore Throat Treated
There is no way to cure a sore throat that is caused by a virus. The sore throat should clear up in 5 to 7 days. In the meantime, you can ease the symptoms by taking pain relief medication. Adults and children older than 1 month can take paracetamol, and adults and children older than 3 months can take ibuprofen. Do not give aspirin to children under 16.
If the sore throat is caused by bacteria, you may benefit from antibiotics.
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has developed a guide which can be used with your doctor to help you decide whether to use antibiotics when you or your child has a sore throat.
A Pharmacist Can Help With Sore Throats
You can ask a pharmacist about ways of relieving the pain and discomfort of a sore throat, such as:
- medicated lozenges containing a local anaesthetic, antiseptic, or anti-inflammatory medicine
- anaesthetic spray
You can buy these treatments from a supermarket or from a pharmacist without a prescription.
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Treatment For Painful Swallowing
Treatment for painful swallowing can vary depending on the cause of the pain. Your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics to treat infections of the throat, tonsils, or esophagus. Your doctor may give you a mouthwash that can numb your throat while you take oral antibiotics.
This numbing agent helps to block any pain you may feel when swallowing the pill. For severe pain, a throat spray can help numb the pain. Your doctor may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to reduce inflammation in the esophagus, throat, or tonsils.
If you frequently experience painful swallowing due to recurring tonsillitis or if your tonsillitis doesnt respond to medication, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove your tonsils.
This surgery is called a tonsillectomy. Its an outpatient procedure, which means you can go home the same day as the surgery. You and your doctor can discuss your risks and determine whether a tonsillectomy is appropriate for your condition.
How Is Pharyngitis Diagnosed
Diagnosing the underlying cause of a sore throat is key to determining how it should be treated.
Your doctor will most likely start by taking your medical history and then will give you a physical exam that may involve checking your temperature looking at your throat, ears, and nose with a lighted instrument checking your neck for swollen glands and listening to your breathing with a stethoscope.
If the rapid in-clinic test comes back positive, then you almost certainly have a bacterial infection . If the test comes back negative, then you likely have a viral infection.
If your doctor suspects that your sore throat is related to an allergy, you may be referred to an allergist for additional tests. If you experience chronic or frequent sore throat, you may be referred to an otolaryngologist .
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Swallowing Pills Or Food
You don’t want anything to stick to and irritate your esophagus. Small, oval, and heavier pills pass through more easily than large, round, and lighter ones. The medications most likely to cause problems are antibiotics like doxycycline and tetracycline, potassium supplements, and NSAIDs.
To prevent this, have at least a half-cup of water when you take a pill, and sit up straight for at least 10 minutes afterward. If itâs a medicine known to irritate, drink a cup of water and donât lie down for at least 30 minutes.
What Should You Do If You Have Concerning Symptoms
If you develop a sore throat or other symptoms and think you may have COVID-19, take the following steps:
- Stay home. Plan to go out only to seek medical care. If you live with other people, make sure you distance yourself from them as much as possible. Wear a mask, preferably an N95 or KN95 mask, if youre around other people in your home, or if you have to get medical care.
- Let them know about your symptoms. Theyll give you information on how to care for yourself while youre ill, and may also arrange for you to be tested for COVID-19.
- Keep track of your symptoms. Most people with COVID-19 can recover at home, but about
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Strep Throat: When To Suspect
- Symptoms include sore throat, fever, headache, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting.
- Cough, hoarseness, red eyes, and runny nose are usually not seen with Strep throat. These symptoms point more to a viral cause.
- Scarlet fever rash is highly suggestive of Strep throat.
- Peak age: 5 to 15 years old. Not common under 2 years old unless sibling has Strep.
- If you think your child has Strep, call your doctor.
- Your doctor will do a Strep test. If the test is positive, they will start treatment. There is no risk from waiting until a Strep test can be done.
- Standard treatment is with antibiotics by mouth.
What Causes Sore Throat
Many conditions and factors cause sore throat, also called pharyngitis. You may feel pain and irritation anywhere in the back of your mouth, on your tonsils, and down your neck. You may also have a fever, swollen lymph nodes in your neck, and a headache or earache.
Common causes of a sore throat include:
Less common but more serious causes of sore throat are abscess , infection of the epiglottis and tumors.
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Diagnosing The Cause Of Painful Swallowing
When visiting your doctor, make sure to mention every symptom youre experiencing. You should also tell them if any symptoms are new or getting worse. Describing all of your symptoms will help your doctor determine the cause of your pain.
If a physical examination isnt enough to determine a diagnosis, your doctor may order certain tests, such as the following:
- A blood test called a complete blood count measures the amount of different types of blood cells in your body. The results can help your doctor determine whether your body is fighting off an infection caused by a virus or bacteria.
- MRI and CT scans can produce detailed images of your throat, allowing your doctor to check for any abnormalities. These imaging tests might also be used to detect the presence of tumors in the throat.
- A throat swab culture involves taking a sample of mucus from the back of your throat. This test can check for the presence of certain kinds of organisms in the throat that could cause an infection.
- A sputum culture consists of obtaining a sample of sputum, or phlegm, and testing it for the presence of certain organisms. This simple, painless test can help your doctor determine whether an infection is causing your painful swallowing.
Why Does My Throat Hurt When I Swallow
If youre having a hard time eating and drinking, youre not alone. Painful swallowing is a common condition. You could be experiencing burning, soreness, a sharp pain, or the sensation that you have a lump in your throat. All of these symptoms can make it difficult to swallow. Most of the time, painful swallowing is benign and can be treated easily with OTC medications and home remedies. But if your condition is severe or persists, you will need to see your PCP or throat doctor for treatment. You may be diagnosed with one of the following causes for painful swallowing:
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What Is Sore Throat
A sore throat, or pharyngitis, is when the throat is red, swollen and painful, especially when you swallow. It happens when the back of the throat, called the pharynx, is inflamed.
Usually, sore throats go away without treatment within 3 to 4 days. Seek medical attention if:
- you have trouble breathing or swallowing
- you have a stiff or swollen neck
- you have a high fever
- you have a rash
- you feel very unwell or the sore throat is getting worse
Sore Throat Can’t Swallow What To Do
Pharyngitis or sore throat is a common issue usually caused by an infection. Sometimes, soreness is the only symptom of an infection in the throat, but it is possible to experience other issues such as mild cough, a hoarse voice, headache, fever, fatigue and swelling of the glands in the neck as well. Soreness in your throat can be so severe that you may not be able to swallow anything. This makes many people wonder how to deal with the sore throat that prevents them to swallow. While soreness usually goes away in about a week or so, you can take certain steps to make your condition more manageable.
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