Sore throat INFO...
During the cold winter months, dry heat may create a recurring, mild sore throat with a parched feeling, especially in the mornings. This condition often responds to humidification of bedroom air and increased liquid intake. Patients with a chronic stuffy nose, which causes mouth breathing, can also have a parched throat. They may need treatment for their stuffy nose.
An occasional cause of morning sore throat is when stomach acids come up into the back of the throat, where they are extremely irritating. You should avoid eating and drinking for one to two hours before retiring. You might find antacids helpful. If these fail, see your doctor.
Industrial pollutants and chemicals in the air can irritate the nose and throat, but by far the most common air pollutant is tobacco smoke. It cannot be tolerated by many people who are either allergic or sensitive to smoke and its contents. Other irritants include smokeless tobacco, alcoholic beverages, and spicy foods.
A person who strains his voice (yelling at a sports events, for example) gets a sore throat not only from muscle strain, but also from the rough treatment to his throat membranes. Well-trained experienced public speakers and singers learn not to abuse their throats and voices. They produce loud voices by taking deep breaths and using their chest and abdominal muscles more than their throat muscles.
Tumors of the throat, tongue and voice box are usually (but not always) associated with long time use of tobacco and alcohol. A sore throat and difficult swallowing, sometimes with pain radiating to the ear, may be symptoms of a tumor. More often the sore throat is so mild or so chronice, it is hardly noticed. Other important symptoms include hoarseness, a lump in the neck, unexplained weight loss, or spitting up blood in the saliva or phlegm. The diagnosis will require examination by an ear, nose and throat specialist who may use special mirrors or telescopic instruments (endoscopes).
How to treat a sore throat...
A mild sore throat associated with a cold or flu can be made more comfortable with the following remedies:
-Increase your liquid intake. (Warm tea with honey is a great one!)
-Use a steamer or humidifier in your bedroom.
-Gargle with warm salt water several times daily
*1/4 tsp salt to 8 oz. glass water
-Take mild pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tempra)
or ibuprofen (Advil, Nuprin)
-Take non-prescription throat lozenges.
When to see a doctor...
-Severe sore throat lasting longer than five-to-seven days
-Difficulty opening the mouth
-Fever (over 101 F)
-Blood in saliva or phlegm
-Frequently recurring sore throat
-Lump in neck
-Hoarseness lasting more than 2 weeks
When to take antibiotics...
Antibiotics kill or impair bacteria and are prescribed when the physician diagnoses streptococcal or other bacterial infection. However, a number of throat infections do not respond to antibiotics. Antibiotics do not cure viral infections. Viruses lower the patient's resistance to bacterial infections. When a combined infection occurs, antibiotics may be prescribed. An antibiotic should be taken as the physician directs for the full course (usually 10 days). Otherwise the infection will probably be suppressed rather eliminated, and it can return.