Sore throat

Sore Throat: Description, Causes and Risk Factors: Sore throatA condition characterized by pain or discomfort on swallowing; it may be due to any of a variety of inflammations of the tonsils, pharynx, or larynx. ICD-10: Acute: J02.9, chronic: J31.2. Sore throats (known medically as pharyngitis/tonsillitis/laryngitis) are an acute inflammation of the mucous membrane of the lower pharynx. Tonsils and the soft palate may also be inflamed. The main indication of a sore throat is pain when swallowing and sometimes a burning sensation and tightness in the throat. Secretions may be discharged from the mucous membrane or the throat may be very dry. Sore throats are normally caused by either a viral or bacterial infection. The most important difference between a virus and bacteria is that bacteria respond well to antibiotic treatment and viruses do not. Approximately 10 to 20 per cent of patients with sore throat have an infection caused by group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus (strep throat). A small percentage of sore throats will be caused by a variety of other bacterial organisms (e.g., Group C and G streptococcus) or disease processes (e.g., lymphoma). The majority of sore throats are due to an infection with a virus; there is a large variety of viruses which cause the common types of sore throats. A well-known virus is the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which causes glandular fever and glandular fever tonsillitis. Sore throats that arise from external pathogens such as bacteria and viruses usually starts with cold or flu symptoms, such as fever, chills, sneezing, runny nose, headache, body aches. Internal conditions that cause sore throats are basically of two kinds: Excess or Deficiency.
  • Excess conditions include toxic heat, fire, dampness, or phlegm.
  • Deficiency conditions mostly involve Yin deficiency. Most common is deficiency of lung Yin, followed by kidney Yin deficiency, often with excess or deficient heat or fire.
Other Possible Causes and Risk Factors:
  • Measles may causes sore throat under some circumstances.
  • Breathing through the mouth can cause the throat to dry and become painful.
  • In some cases a sore throat could be a sign of throat cancer (usually in smokers).
  • Allergies do not cause sudden sore, painful throats. They can, however, cause chronic mild throat irritation.
  • Sore throat could occur due to infectious mononucleosis.
  • Fish, chicken bone, or other foreign substance increases the risk of throat problems.
  • Surgery such as tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy may lead to the condition of sore throat.
  • Sinus drainage may cause a sore throat.
Symptoms: Other symptoms along with sore throat may include:
  • Fever.
  • Headache.
  • Body aches.
  • Joints pain.
  • White patches in your throat or on your tonsils.
  • Pain when you swallow.
  • Swollen, red tonsils.
  • Sore glands in your jaw and throat.
Diagnosis: Your clinician may do a rapid strep test, a throat culture or both. A rapid strep test will give results fast usually within about 15 minutes. But the test won't tell if your sore throat is caused by a bacterium other than Streptococcus or if it's caused by a virus. A throat culture takes longer about 24 hours, but it's more accurate. A throat culture or rapid strep test is the only way to distinguish strep pharyngitis from viral pharyngitis. If your clinician thinks you may have mono, he or she will probably do a blood test. The monospot slide test is sensitive, specific and easily performed. Approximately 85-90 % of patients will show positive results by the third week of illness. However, test results may be negative early in the course of illness. The monospot test is unreliable in children younger than four. In these young patients EBV serology is the test of choice. However, its usefulness is limited by the much longer time it takes to get results. However, new findings suggest that physicians also should look for the presence of bacteria called Fusobacterium necrophorum when treating sore throat in young adults and adolescents that worsens or is strep-negative. F. necrophorum, which only has been recognized as a potential cause of pharyngitis in adolescents and young adults in the past few years, may cause up to 10 percent of sore throat in those 15-24 years of age. Treatment: For Mild Symptoms:
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Drink plenty of liquids. Drink hot liquids, such as tea and soup, to soothe the throat and thin mucus.
  • Gargle with warm salt water. Mix teaspoon of salt in 1 cup or 240 milliliters (mL) of warm water.
  • Put ginger root in a glass of hot water, wait 5-10 minutes and drink may soothe sore throat.
  • Coarsely powdered cinnamon added to a glass of water along with two tablespoons of honey and a pinch of ground pepper and then boiled, is another remedy for sore throat.
  • Use a cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier to moisten and soothe a dry and painful throat.
  • Suck on sore throat lozenges or hard candies.
  • Stop smoking and avoid second-hand smoke.
Pharmacological Treatment Options:
  • If your sore throat is caused by Streptococcus, your clinician will probably prescribe penicillin, taken by mouth for 10 days. Another antibiotic, called erythromycin, can be used if you are allergic to penicillin. If your sore throat is caused by other different bacteria, your clinician may prescribe another type of antibiotic based on the diagnosis results.
  • Antibiotics don't work against viruses. Infections caused by viruses usually just have to run their course. Most symptoms caused by a cold-type virus go away in a week to 10 days.
  • If a sore throat is a symptom of hay fever or another allergy, your clinician can help you figure out how to avoid the things that trigger your allergies. Or you may need to take medicine for your allergies.
NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.  

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