By Nurse Alexandra Matkevich
There are so many wonderful things to love about winter, but a cold and flu’s are certainly not one of them. Though you can get a cold or flu at any time of year, winter seems to be the time of year when it peaks. Sore throats are one of the common complaints of these conditions. This article provides a discussion about managing a sore throat.
Not are all the same
Not all sore throats are caused by a bacterial infection but can also be caused by a virus, irritation or trauma. Viral infections are diseases such as the common cold and influenza, and sore throat is a common sign of the illness. Irritation, such as ‘post nasal drip’ can constantly irritate the throat and make it sore and scratchy. The cause of a sore throat may be more specific, for instance after surgery many people report a sore throat from the endotracheal tube irritating the throat. This discomfort will heal soon after surgery.
What to do
To tackle pain and inflammation use an over the counter analgesic, either a paracetamol, ibuprofen or codeine product (or a combination of these). Your pharmacist can help you select an appropriate product. For an at home remedy, try a salt water gargle with warm water using the recipe below:
1 teaspoon of salt water
250ml of cooled, boiled water
One of the largest misconceptions out there during cold and flu season is that a sore throat needs antibacterial lozenges. It is best to steer clear of antibacterial lozenges unless you are told to use it by a health professional. There are also plain types of lozenges which are easy to get from the store. Some plain lozenges and chewing gum can provide comfort and distraction from a sore throat, as well as stimulate saliva flow.
If your condition worsens or your symptoms persist for more than a day or two, seek medical attention.
Also seek further help if:
- you have breathing difficulties
- sore throat is accompanied by a fever
- sore throat is accompanied by vomiting
- you have problems eating or drinking
- your symptoms are not improving or return
This article aims to provide general advice only and is not a substitute for a thorough assessment by a medical professional. If you have any questions about sore throat please contact your local doctor who will arrange for your to see an ear nose and throat specialist.