A picture illustrating sore throat

Sore throat is a condition in which a person experiences pain and discomfort in the throat which can cause problem swallowing, chewing, drinking or talking.

Sores can also form in the oesophagus and the vocal cord.

The exterior of sore throats are reddish while the interior are whitish. 

Causes of Sore throat

Sore throat can be cause by the following:

  •  Infection with virus like the cold and flu viruses
  • Strep bacteria
  • Fungal infection such as oval thrust
  • Chemotherapy for cancer treatment
  • Smoking or second hand smoking (inhaling smoke from another person smoking)
  • Pollution
  • Straining the muscles of the throat by excessive yelling or talking for a very long time without rest
  • Acidic foods like lime, pineapple
  • Allergies
  • Anaesthesia during surgery
  • Behcet’s Syndrome an inflammatory condition that causes ulcer to form in the throat mouth, genitals and other parts of the body.
  • Herpangina a viral disease that affects children which can cause sore to develop in the mouth and throat of children
  • Oropharyngeal cancer which is a cancer that affects the truth

Symptoms of Sore throat

The symptoms of Sore throat are as follows:

  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Dry and scratchy throat
  • Pain when talking
  • Cough
  • Feeling of a lump stuck in the throat 
  • Red or white patches in the throat
  • Frequent clearing of the throat
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty in moving the neck
  • Choking sensations
  • Nausea
  • Hoarse voice
  • Heart burn
  • Fever 

Sore throat can be a symptom of a serious underlying medical condition.

More Serious Symptoms

If you experience these symptoms you need immediate medical attention:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • High fever 
  • Vomiting of blood
  • Swelling in the face or neck
  • Hoarseness that last for more than two weeks
  • Stiff neck or painful neck

How is a sore throat diagnosed?

Your doctor will carry out a physical examination of the throat. He will look at the back of your throat and swab the back of your throat. Your doctor will do this to collect a sample of bacteria. This is called a throat culture. This test is also used to diagnose strep.  This test will only show if the sore throat is caused by strep. The results of a throat culture takes between 24 and 48 hours. Your doctor may also conduct a blood test if he suspects that the sore throat is caused by mono.

Other test that can be done to diagnose sore throat includes:

  • Barium swallow X-ray : The doctor will give you a solution of Barium  to drink which will coat the lining  of the throat, oesophagus and the stomach and then X- ray will be carried out. During the X-ray imaging, the barium fluoresces, making it easy for the doctor to see those areas that has abnormalities like ulcers, hernias, or mass lesions.
  • Endoscopy procedure: Endoscopes are inserted into the mouth and down into the esophagus during an esophageal endoscopy procedure. A doctor can view any abnormalities in the esophagus using the endoscope, a tube with a light and typically a camera. In order to obtain biopsy samples, the doctor may also introduce equipment into the tube.
  • Laryngoscopy: The doctor will insert a laryngoscope into the larynx. The laryngoscope may been fitted with a camera or small mirrors that will  allow a doctor to see inside the throat so as to discover any abnormalities there.
  • Laryngeal videostroboscopy: The doctor can insert a laryngoscope and a strobe light into the throat to see  the vocal folds as they vibrate. This will enable the doctor to check if there are abnormalities of the vocal folds in the voice box.
  • Panendoscopy:  The doctor will use connected telescopes called a panendoscope to view the mouth, throat, esophagus, and trachea to find out if there are abnormalities in them.
Treatment of Sore throat
  • Antibiotics: Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics for you if the sore throat is cause by a bacteria.
  • Antiviral medicines: Antiviral medicines can be used to  treat sore throat caused by cold or flu virus. Sore throat caused by virus can not be treated by using antibiotics.
  •  Pain – relievers: Pain relieves such as Acetaminophen can be use to get relieve from the pains caused by the sore throat.
Most sore throats will get better on their own within one week.
How to feel relieved
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Take pain relievers such as Acetaminophen
  • Cough and cold medicines
  • Over – the – counter medicines as prescribed by your doctor
  • Gargling warm salt water. To prepare salt water add 1 table spoon of salt into a warm water
  • Avoid acidic foods such as pineapple, oranges, like which can  worsen the sore throat
  • Avoid smoking which can make your sore throat get worse
  • Do not eat hard food like peanuts,nuts etc
  • Drink honey to get relieve drik cough
  • Suck on Lozenges
Prevention of sore throat
  • Wash your  hands before eating or after going to the bathroom to avoid infecting yourself with the bacteria or virus that causes sore throat.
  • Avoid close contact with people who have sore throat or colds to avoid getting infected
  • Avoid smoking
  • Maintain a health weight through exercise and healthy eating to avoid excessive weight which can press on your stomach and can acid up into the oesophagus which can cause Gastroesophagel Reflux Disease(GERD).


Home Remedies

There are  different lifestyle changes a person can make to bring relief from the discomforts of sore throat. They includes: 

  • You have to eat more of soft foods. 
  • Avoid eating hard foods like  chips, nuts which can cause damage to the throat already affected by sore throat.
  • Avoid acidic fruits like lime, pineapples.
  • Eat warm or cold foods. Hot foods can cause more harm to the already affected throat.
  •  Drink plenty of water throughout the day to avoid the throat  becoming dry which can cause more pain and discomfort.
  • Rinse the mouth very often and gangle with salt solution
Sore throat can be caused by a bacteria or virus which can cause difficulty or pain swallowing, drinking or talking.
 When you experience symptoms of sore throat you should see your do your for immediate medical attention. 
Practicing good hygiene is a very important method to prevent having a sore throat.

By Ekene Arodiogbu

Ekene Arodiogbu is the CEO of Excedel World. He loves to listen to good music and watch movies in his spare time.

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