Sore throat, what is the cause and what can you do about it?

Sore throat is a common complaint that is especially common in autumn and winter. It is often caused by a virus, which can simultaneously cause a cold. A sore throat is annoying, and there is usually little you can do about it other than treating it. A viral throat infection usually goes away on its own after three to a maximum of seven days. The annoying throat complaints can be soothed with all kinds of home remedies and avoiding dry air, smoky rooms or irritating substances can certainly help. However, there may also be other causes that require treatment with antibiotics, for example.

Sore throat, possible causes

Anyone who suffers from a sore throat often has an inflammation of the mucous membrane of the throat. A sore throat often accompanies a cold . It is usually caused by a virus , which settles in the mucous membranes and causes inflammation at the site. Occasionally a sore throat is caused by a bacteria, usually streptococci. Only in the case of a bacterial infection can it be useful to take antibiotics, but antibiotics are only prescribed if they are really necessary, for example if there is a peritonsillar abscess. Antibiotics do not help against viral infections.
About 2% of people who go to the doctor with a sore throat turn out to have mononucleosis , which is caused by the Epstein Barr virus . There may be complaints such as swollen lymph nodes, fever, fatigue and generally feeling bad. Anyone who has glandular fever must take it easy, there is no medicine for the disease. Canker sores in the throat can also be a cause of severe, sharp-feeling sore throat. Canker sores are white sores with a red border, which can occur in the mucous membrane of the mouth or in the throat. Canker sores often appear when resistance is reduced or the resistance is not functioning properly.
Pseudocroup , a viral throat infection that can cause shortness of breath and wheezing, can occur in toddlers . Epiglottitis , an inflammation of the epiglottis, can also cause a sore throat in addition to high fever, difficulty swallowing and difficulty bending the head forward. This is a dangerous situation that requires immediate medical attention. Fortunately, such an infection of the epiglottis is rare.

Other causes of sore throat can be;

  • Smoking a lot
  • Talking and/or shouting a lot
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Inhaling irritating substances
  • Staying in very dry air for a long time
  • Frequent clearing of the throat


Possible complaints of sore throat

  • Dry, thick throat that feels painful when swallowing
  • At the back of the throat it can be swollen and red, sometimes with white or yellow spots
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Fever
  • muscle strain
  • Chills


Treatment of sore throat

It often makes no sense to purchase special lozenges. They are quite expensive and don’t do much more than sucking on a regular candy. You should actually just get rid of a sore throat and cold, but you can try to alleviate the annoying additional complaints.

There are a number of things you can easily do yourself for throat complaints;

  • Drink plenty of cold (water).
  • Eating popsicles
  • If swallowing is very painful, it is better to replace solid food with liquid food
  • Drink tea with honey
  • Sucking on a candy or licorice
  • Make sure the air is not too dry
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption


Use pain relief

If you have a severe sore throat, it is best to use paracetamol to relieve the pain. It is best to dissolve the tablets in water, this is better for the stomach and the substance is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream.

When to use antibiotics?

Only in case of severe sore throat, where it is assumed that the infection is caused by bacteria, is it useful to take antibiotics. However, this is not easily prescribed. It may make sense to take antibiotics in the following cases;

  • High fever for several days and feeling quite ill
  • If the lymph nodes in the neck are very painful and swollen
  • For very severe swallowing and throat complaints


What to do if sore throat occurs very often?

If you are seriously ill several times a year due to a cold and sore throat, it may be useful to visit the doctor. This can assess whether the tonsils may be inflamed and whether it would be wise to have a tonsillectomy. There could also be an immune disorder or allergy.

read more

  • Hoarseness: causes and treatment
  • Colds and coughs, prevention and treatment
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