What Causes Sore Throats?
Sore throats are extremely common and it is likely that most of us will suffer from a sore throat at least once in our lifetime. There are many possible reasons why sore throats happen, each needing a different type of treatment, if any at all.
They most commonly last around one week during which time it isn’t likely that you will need any medical intervention. If however, your symptoms persist even after using home remedies or you are finding it increasingly difficult to swallow or breathe, then you must seek medical help before any further complications arise.
Bacterial InfectionsBacterial infections are fairly easily transmitted from person to person, and while they may not prove to be any more severe than a viral infection, the chances of needing medical advice are higher.
Bacteria can live quite happily in the throat as it is warm, moist and dark, providing the perfect environment in which to multiply. This can be more troublesome than a virus as the symptoms can increase quite quickly and necessitate the usage of anti-biotics in order to kill off the bad bacteria before they causes damage to the delicate cells of the throat tissue.
If you have a temperature that fails to decline or remain stable after using paracetamol, or you have noticeable white patches or pus filled ulcers at the back of your throat or on your tonsils, or if you cannot swallow any fluids and are finding it more difficult to breathe, you need to see your GP.
Viral InfectionsViral infections are the most common reason why we suffer from sore throats. The virus can be passed from person to person in saliva so even laughing, talking, coughing or sneezing can pass the pathogens on the next person.
Viral infections are usually less serious than those of a bacterial nature as they tend not to continue getting worse once they have reached their peak, unlike bacterial infections that can continue to attack the tissues until they are fought using anti-biotics.Viral throat infections commonly last a week, maybe a day or two more and can be treated at home with rest, pain relief and plenty of fluids.
Oral ThrushThough it is not very common in adults, oral thrush can cause some symptoms of the throat. Sometimes it may start as an irritation and dryness but can progress as the thrush spreads further to the back of the mouth.
This condition needs treating and many preparations can be bought over-the-counter at the chemist or in supermarkets.Personal hygiene is fundamental when thrush is present in order to prevent it spreading to other parts of the body and to prevent it spreading to others.
More Serious ConditionsOccasionally a sore throat may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. If your symptoms persist for longer than two weeks even after using home remedies and anti-biotics (if a bacterial infection has been determined), you should return to your GP.
Sore throats can be a symptom of certain diabetic conditions, problems with your thyroid, a growth in the neck area or even very serious illnesses such as cancers or AIDS.
It is also worth noting that sore throats can be a side-effect of certain medications and treatments so always tell your GP if you are taking any medications or have received any other forms of treatment elsewhere.
Sore throats are very common and rarely serious. If your symptoms persist however you should tell your GP who will help you determine the cause of the pain and discomfort.