1. What is sore throat?
It is pain, irritation and scratchiness in the throat. These symptoms increase while swallowing food.
2. What are the causes of a sore throat?
The most common cause that lead to a sore throat are viruses. Although less common, bacteria may also cause sore throat. Various viral diseases that cause a sore throat include flu, common cold, whooping cough, chickenpox and measles. Bacteria is also a causative agent of strep throat. Other causes of sore throat include allergies, irritants, cancer, HIV and straining of throat muscles.
3. What increases the risk of a sore throat?
Exposure to smoke and smoking tobacco, people with allergies, exposure to substances that irritate the throat, children and teens are at a higher risk, weakened immunity due to some underlying infections and having long-term or frequent sinus infections can put a person at a high risk of getting sore throat.
4. How is sore throat diagnosed?
Physical examination of the throat is done. Doctor may swab the back of the throat to perform throat culture test and diagnose the presence of infection. This test is performed to diagnose strep throat, which is caused by Streptococcus. It will not help in the diagnosis of any other infection. A blood test may also be recommended to identify the underlying cause.
5. What are the common treatment measures available for a sore throat?
Sore throat due to viral infection generally do not need any treatment and will improve within a period of 5 to 7 days. Doctor may prescribe medicines to relieve pain and fever. Antibiotics may be prescribed if the cause of sore throat is a bacterial infection. Treatment for any other cause of sore throat will include treatment based on the cause.