- A sore throat is a common condition that can indicate the presence of a bacteria, contagious virus, sinus infection, or general allergies.
- More often that not, a sore throat can be treated with over-the-counter remedies sold at your local drug store. Occasionally, a sore throat requires care from a physician.
- In this blog, the physicians at AOC discuss when you should see a doctor for a sore throat.
A sore throat is a common ailment usually caused by an infection from a virus or bacteria. If you’ve ever had a sore throat in your life, which is highly likely, you may have experienced symptoms such as a burning pain in the throat, difficulty swallowing or talking, swollen glands in the neck, and a hoarse or muffled voice. Fortunately, this condition can be mitigated with over-the-counter remedies and conservative therapies. Still, there are instances where a patient will need to see a physician about their sore throat, which is something we will discuss today.
First and foremost, if you develop a sore throat, you may want to try the following at-home remedies to see if it goes away on its own. These treatment options typically include:
- Increasing liquid intake
- Gargling with lukewarm salt water
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers
- Drinking warm tea with honey
- Putting a humidifier in your bedroom during sleep
While these treatments can be incredibly effective at combating a common cold, sore throat combination, it may not be enough to heal you completely. These remedies usually only work for sore throats caused by viruses that the body can fight off itself. If you have a bacterial infection, you may need an antibiotic to kill off the bacteria wreaking havoc in your body. Common antibiotics include penicillin or erythromycin, which are typically prescribed when a physician suspects the presence of streptococcus bacteria.
Speaking of a streptococcal infection, this bacterium should be diagnosed and treated by a physician right away. If left untreated, the infection could progress, causing damage to your heart valves and kidneys. It can also become scarlet fever, tonsillitis, pneumonia, sinusitis, or an ear infection. If you’re unsure about seeing a physician, considering the following symptoms:
- A sore throat that lasts longer than five to seven days
- Difficulty breathing, swallowing, opening the mouth, and speaking
- Swollen glands in the neck, armpits, or groin
- Fever (over 101 degrees)
- Joint pain
- Blood in the saliva or phlegm
- Stomach pain
If you develop any of these symptoms, call your doctor right away. These symptoms could be a sign of strep throat, which will not go away on its own. If you are diagnosed with strep throat, it may take anywhere from seven to ten days for the infection to go away completely. In some cases, the infection cannot be eradicated during the first course of treatment. If that is the case, other antibiotics will have to be considered by your doctor.
If you suffer from chronic sore throats, you may want to speak to an AOC physician about undergoing a tonsillectomy. This procedure removes the tonsils to significantly reduce recurrent infections. Call 602-264-4834 to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians today!
Arizona Otolaryngology Consultants (AOC) is a comprehensive ENT clinic that provides care for all diseases of the ears, nose, throat, and sinuses. The physicians at AOC have the highest level of training and expertise in ENT care and ENT subspecialty care, which includes the management of pediatric airway, cancer, skull base surgery, advanced head and neck surgical and reconstructive procedures, craniofacial surgery and more. Call 602-264-4834 to request an appointment today!
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.