Most people dismisses sore throat as nothing to worry about. While most sore throats are caused by cold and flu virus, some cases, however, can be detrimental. In fact, one of the first symptoms of infection caused by the dreaded ebola virus is a sore throat.
One can have a sore throat by talking loudly inside a noisy bar. It can strain your vocal cords and may result in throat soreness. Even hay fever, or allergies acting up, can make your throat feel itchy. When you sleep with your mouth open during winter, the dry air can cause you a sore throat. Indeed, sore throat is as common a symptom of illness as fatigue.
A sore throat caused by viral infection, such as a cold or the flu, can be relieved by drinking hot tea with honey and sucking on throat lozenges. These types of sore throats caused by viruses don't respond to antibiotics. A simple rest is what it takes to help your immune system become strong and able to fight the invaders.
According to Robert T. Sataloff, MD, associate dean for clinical academic specialties at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, "Wait a day, drink plenty of fluids, take pain medication if you'd like. You might as well try vitamin C. The data are controversial, but vitamin C doesn't do any harm, and there's some suggestion that vitamin C and antioxidants may have some efficacy. These are not unreasonable things to do when helping your body fight off an infection, and that's what it has to do since we don't treat viral infections with antibiotics."
When sore throat is accompanied by fever and an achy feeling all over, it's time to see a doctor for a throat culture to find out if it's strep infection, especially if you have been around children, who frequently harbor strep bacteria.
Sataloff warned that a strep infection can be dangerous not just for kids but even for adults. "The greatest dangers are local inflammation and rapid spread to the throat and adjacent structures like the tonsils and lymph tissues. They can swell and obstruct the airway, and the bacteria can get into the bloodstream and cause infections elsewhere, such as the heart valves," Staloff said.
Difficulty in swallowing or breathing, or when high fever occurs with painful swelling of your lymph nodes develop, it could indicate tonsillitis, mononucleosis, or some other potentially dangerous infection. These symptoms can also signal strep throat. However, early diagnosis and treatment can forestall almost all the serious consequences of sore throat.