Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sore Throat Causes and How to Overcome

What causes a sore throat?
A sore throat can have many causes including:
  1. Common viruses, and even the viruses that cause mononucleosis (mono) and the flu, can cause a sore throat. Some viruses can also produce blisters in the mouth and throat ("aphthous stomatitis").
  1. Breathing through the mouth can produce throat dryness and soreness.
  1. Sinus drainage (post nasal drip) may cause a sore throat.
  1. A sore throat can also be caused by bacteria. The two most common bacteria to cause a sore throat are Streptococcus (which causes strep throat) and Arcanobacterium haemolyticum. Arcanobacterium causes sore throats mainly in young adults and is sometimes associated with a fine red rash.
  1. Sore throat appearing after treatment with antibiotics, chemotherapy, or other immune-compromising medications may be due to Candida, commonly known as "thrush."
  1. A sore throat lasting for more than two weeks can be a sign of a serious illness, such as throat cancer or AIDS.

What can I do at home for a sore throat?
Generally, sore throats must run their course (exception, strep throat will be addressed below.)
  • Salt water gargles, hard candies, sprays for example, Chloraseptic) and lozenges can provide temporary pain relief. (Caution: Lozenges and hard candy are a choking hazard for children. Avoid their use in young children.)

  • A humidifier may be helpful in relieving symptoms, especially in sore throats caused by mouth breathing and dry air.

  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help control the pain.

  • For adults, if your nose is plugged, nasal sprays such as Afrin may be used for two to three days to prevent mouth breathing. It is NOT a good idea to use these products for more than a couple of days; you may become dependent on them.

  • Other decongestant products, such as Sudafed, may be helpful.

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