Information on Sore Throat Symptoms and Sore Throat Causes. Natural Sore Throat Remedies.
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What is a Sore Throat?
A sore throat is usually due to an infection in the throat area. Sore throat causes are mostly related to cases of pharyngitis or tonsillitis. Aside from pain in the throat area, the sore throat symptoms can also include a reddish appearance or swelling in the throat, ear pain, difficulty swallowing, and a high fever.
As they are often around infections in school and child care, children are more susceptible to contagious illnesses including sore throats versus adolescents and adults. They occur all year long, but particularly during the winter months when colds and flu are more frequent.
Diagnosing a Sore Throat
Sore throat is very common and is almost always self-diagnosed. In cases where a sore throat persists longer than the normal seven day period, or is accompanied by vomiting or fever, you should consult your health practitioner immediately as further diagnosis may be necessary.
What are Sore Throat Causes?
Sore throats may be associated with many medical conditions. Infections of the throat may be either viral or bacterial and are usually very contagious. Approximately 90 to 95% of all sore throats are caused by viruses such as the flu virus, a cold, or infectious mononucleosis (glandular fever).
Other sore throat causes, about 5-10%, are contributed to bacteria such as streptococcus, mycoplasma, or hemophilus. Bacterial sore throats are usually more serious than viral throat infections.
A common cause of bacterial throat infection is a particular strain of streptococcus bacteria of the group “A Streptococcus”, and is commonly called strep throat. This specific bacterium can also cause damage to the kidneys and heart valves as well as causing tonsillitis, sinusitis, ear infections, pneumonia, or scarlet fever.
Viruses causing sore throats can be spread through airborne droplets as well as through hand-to-hand and direct contact. However, sore throats can also be a symptom of other viral infections such as chicken pox, measles, whooping cough, or croup. Fever blisters or canker sores may also develop in the throat causing extreme pain. Mononucleosis (also known as the kissing disease or glandular fever) is a common throat infection as a result of the Epstein–Barr virus lodged in the lymph system. This virus causes a severe sore throat, enlarged tonsils with white patches, and swollen glands in the neck and armpits, sometimes with accompanying jaundice.
A sore throat may also be brought about as a result of environmental and other conditions. Smoking and breathing secondhand smoke, consuming large amounts of alcohol, breathing chemical fumes or polluted air are all factors that may cause a sore throat.
Help for a Sore Throat
The best sore throat remedies including drinking plenty of fluids such as tea with honey and gargling daily with warm salt water. Over-the-counter medication such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, or antiseptic gargles will also provide pain and relief from sore throat symptoms, but may cause unwanted side effects.
More severe throat infections may require prescription medication such as antibiotics to suppress the infection. As antibiotics can not only cause unwanted side effects and other complications, but also rob the body of ‘good’ bacteria. It is important to determine whether they are really necessary, and if you do decide to take them, to replenish the good bacteria by eating live culture yogurt.