Sore Throat Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Sore Throat Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Oct 01, 2020

Depending on the causes, a sore throat can be a minor sign of flu or a more serious condition. In some cases, you might need emergency care for your sore throat.

When you or a member of your family experiences breathing or swallowing difficulties, as well as drooling, you might need to visit the nearest ER. If you are not experiencing the symptoms above, you can wait until the next day to receive treatments.

Causes of Sore Throat

Sore throat or pharyngitis is the inflammation of the pharynx. Some of the typical causes of a sore throat include:

  • A bacterial infection such as the upper throat infection or strep throat
  • Allergens such as pollen, post-nasal drip, pet dander, and dust
  • Viral infections such as common cold, mononucleosis, and influenza

In most cases, sore throat is a result of viral infections such as the common cold. Other viral infections associated with sore throats include:

  • Measles
  • Chickenpox
  • Mononucleosis

When a sore throat is a result of bacterial infection affecting the mucous membranes, the results are a strep throat.

Symptoms of a Sore Throat

When you have a sore throat, you are likely to experience the following:

  • Scratchy throat
  • Difficulties breathing
  • Pain that leads to difficulties swallowing
  • Hoarseness that lasts up to a week
  • Difficulties opening your mouth
  • Rashes or lumps on your neck
  • Tonsil swelling
  • Nausea
  • Running nose and sometimes vomiting

A strep throat is similar to a sore throat, only that it is a result of a bacterial infection. Strep throat symptoms last longer and can lead to further complications. Therefore, you should consider visiting an ER in Lake Jackson for treatments. Unlike a sore throat, a strep throat would require antibiotics for treatment.

Diagnosis

When you have symptoms of sore throat, your doctor does not need to carry out more tests. However, if the doctor suspects you have strep throat, you might need more tests.

Your physician will carry out a rapid antigen strep test to check for the presence of streptococcus bacteria. Alternatively, the doctor can take a throat culture and send it to a lab for testing. The throat culture testing technique is more accurate than a rapid strep antigen test. However, it takes 24 to 48 hours to get the results.

Treatment for Sore Throat

When you have a viral sore throat, at Altus Emergency Center in Lake Jackson, we can prescribe anti-inflammatories such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Alternatively, you can try some home remedies such as:

  • Gargling with warm saline water
  • Sucking or throat lozenges
  • Using humidifiers
  • Sucking ice pops

If you have a strep throat, the remedies above won’t be sufficient. Depending on your condition, seeking emergency care would be advisable.

Strep throat is a result of a bacterial infection. Therefore, our physician will prescribe antibiotics to eliminate the streptococcus bacteria. When you are under antibiotics and feel better before finishing your prescription, you should not stop. Continuing with taking the antibiotics prevents the bacteria from returning or development of drug-resistant bacteria.

When Should I Visit an ER Near Me?

When your sore throat lasts more than two days and is accompanied by symptoms such as joint pains, breathing difficulties, fever, rash, and abdominal pains, you can seek emergency treatments.

If you don’t know an ER near you, you can search, “emergency clinic near me,” and Google will provide you with a list of ERs around your location. At our medical clinic in Lake Jackson, we pride ourselves on a team of experienced physicians that are ready to serve you.

When you have signs of a sore throat, we will evaluate all your symptoms and develop a treatment plan that suits you. We can also provide medications on-site if they are available.

Preventing a Sore Throat

Below are some ways to prevent getting that scratchy, raw, burning sensation at the back of your throat.

If you are a smoker, you should stop smoking or sharing cigarettes to avoid transmission. For non-smokers, you should avoid passive smoking. Since colds and flu are the causes of sore throat, you can seek treatments in their early stages.

Other ways to prevent a sore throat include:

  • Stay away from people showing signs of flu
  • Avoid sharing utensils
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Drink lots of fluids and get rest

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