Sore Throat

Signs & Symptoms

You may have other symptoms with the sore throat, too.  These include fatigue, fever, postnasal drip, bad breath, headache, and/or earache.

Causes

  • a bacterial or viral infection, such as strep throat, tonsillitis, or mononucleosis
  • shouting for long periods of time, such as from cheering at a sporting event
  • tobacco or marijuana smoke
  • air pollution, dry air and/or allergies
  • postnasal drip
  • self-induced vomiting
  • an infection from oral sex with an infected partner

Treatment

If an infection is suspected, your health care provider may take a throat culture.  If streptococcus or any other type of bacteria is present, he or she may prescribe an antibiotic.  Be sure you take all of the antibiotic, even if you are feeling better.  If strep throat is inadequately treated, other conditions, such as rheumatic fever can occur.

Self Care

To Prevent Getting a Sore Throat

  • do not get in close contact with anyone you know has a sore throat
  • wash your hands often to minimalize picking up germs from others;  don’t share drinking glasses and silverware

To Treat a Sore Throat

  • gargle every 2 to 3 hours with a solution of 1/4 teaspoon of salt mixed in 1 cup of warm water
  • drink plenty of warm beverages, such as tea with lemon (with or without honey)  and soup
  • for strep throat, drink and eat cold liquids and foods, such as frozen yogurt and popsicles
  • use a cool-mist vaporizer in your room; if you get a sore throat often, consider putting a portable air purifier in your room
  • don’t smoke; avoid secondhand smoke and air pollution
  • avoid eating spicy foods
  • suck on a piece of hard candy, cough drop, or medicated lozenge every 2 to 4 hours
  • take an over-the-counter medicine for the pain and/or fever
  • if prescribed an antibiotic, take all of it

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