Friday, December 10, 2010

Sore throat: Conservative treatment at home


With the changing climate, many of us may have suffered from sore throat which is quite common in winter session. Many times sore throat has been associated with a number of other symptoms, this is mainly due to the fact that various problems can lead to sore throat. In other words, you will have symptoms of sore throat along with other problems such as common colds, allergy etc. The most important decision is whether to visit a doctor or manage it at home. Thus, all of us want to know sore throat conservative treatment at home, if possible.

Sore throat is specifically referred to the primary symptoms of pharyngitis - inflammation of pharynx or throat. Most commonly, sore throat is caused by viral infection, but bacterial infection can also result in sore throat in few cases. Some viral illnesses that may cause sore throat include common cold, influenza, mono, measles, chickenpox, and croup. On the other hand,  strep throat, diphtheria, and whooping cough are some major bacterial illnesses that accompanies sore throat. However, many other factors can also lead to sore throat such as allergy, dryness in room, irritants, GERD, tumors, etc. Whatever may be the cause, in general, most of time sore throat can be treated at home with conservative measures.

Usually sore throat presents with pain or scratchy sensation in throat, difficulty in swallowing, swollen tonsils, dry throat, swollen glands in neck. Of course, you may also have fever, chills, nausea, cough, headache, runny nose and sneezing. It is not necessary to have full set of symptoms to be diagnosed as sore throat. If you visit your doctor, they will do physical exam along with blood test and throat swab to pin point the cause so that it can be treated effectively.

As I'd mentioned before, since sore throat is usually due to viral infection, no specific treatment is required. If you mostly remain healthy at other times, then a self recovery from sore throat is expected in 5-7 days. Good news is that most people recover from it without any complications. Thus, all you need is conservative measures at home by the time your body fights against viral infection. Just keep in mind to visit a doctor if you do not recover within a week, you get repeated sore throat, have severe symptoms which is gets worse, or persistent high grade fever.

Some of the conservative measures are rest, adequate liquid, saltwater gargle, use of humidifier, avoid irritants (such as smoke,solid food), use lozenges, and take warm liquids (broth, caffeine free tea). In the meantime, you can also use OTC medication for pain and fever. Using OTC decongestant and cough medications are also appropriate as per your symptoms. You will see gradual improvement with time. You can read about preventive measures from this link, click here.