1. What is sore throat?
Sore throat is defined as pain or irritation in the throat that can worsen with swallowing. It can be caused by viral or bacterial throat infection, burns from hot food or overuse of voice.
2. What are the causes of a sore throat?
Sore throat can occur due to
- Viral infections like influenza, measles, pertussis, chicken pox
- Bacterial infection, fungal infection
- Allergies to dust, pollen grains
- Smoking, chemical irritants
- Burns from hot food
-Overuse of voice (teachers)
- Tumours of throat, larynx
3. What increases the risk of a sore throat?
Children are at risk of sore throat due to low immunity. Other risk factors inlude smoking, exposure to chemical irritants, seasonal allergies,conditions that hamper immunity like HIV, diabetes, stress, poor diet and treatment with corticosteroids.
4. How is sore throat diagnosed?
Sore throat is diagnosed clinically by its signs/symptoms and local examination. Other diagnostic tests include throat swab, rapid antigen testing and molecular diagnostic testing for bacterial infections. Rarely, a blood test may be needed to confirm the cause of sore throat.
5. What are the common treatment measures available for a sore throat?
Treatment of sore throat depends upon the underlying cause. It includes
- Painkillers like paracetamol, ibuprofen
- Antibiotics in bacterial infection
- Healthy diet and intake of plenty of water
- Gargles with saltwater