Throat Infection - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Throat infection, also known as sore throat, is a condition in which your throat pains and itches along with scratchiness. Moreover, the pain worsens upon eating or swallowing. Mostly sore throat occurs due to a bacterial or viral infestation. Usually, a sore throat goes away on its own. But sometimes you may need to take an antibiotic to get rid of it. Sore throats are more common in young children because they remain in close exposure in schools and institutes. 


According to the part of the throat the infection occurs in, sore throat can be classified in the following categories. 


Pharyngitis- a sore throat that occurs in the pharynx, the area right behind the mouth. 


Tonsillitis - a sore throat that occurs in the tonsils, the two soft tissues located at the back of the mouth. 


Laryngitis- redness, and swelling of the larynx- also known as the voice box.



Symptoms 


The signs and symptoms of sore throat may vary depending upon the severity. They may show up as;


  • Pain in the throat that worsens upon eating, talking, or swallowing

  • A scratchy feeling in the throat

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Sore, swollen tonsil glands

  • White patches or pus on your tonsils

  • A hoarse or muffled voice


A sore throat can cause other symptoms too like;


  • Fever

  • Cough

  • Runny nose

  • Sneezing

  • Body aches

  • Headache

  • Nausea 

  • Vomiting


If you have any of the following symptoms, along with sore throat you should consult with your healthcare provider as soon as possible. 


  • Frequently recurring sore throats

  • A lump in your neck

  • Joint pain

  • Earache

  • Rash

  • Fever higher than 101 F (38.3 C)

  • Hoarseness lasting more than two weeks

  • Blood in your saliva 

  • Blood in your phlegm

  • Swelling in your neck 

  • Swelling in your face


Causes 


Viral infections that cause sore throat can be;


  • Common cold

  • Influenza

  • Measles

  • Chickenpox

  • COVID-19

  • Croup


Bacteria can also cause sore throat, for which you need to take an antibiotic. The most common bacteria that cause sore throat is Streptococcus pyrogens (group A streptococcus) that causes strep throat. If left untreated, it can cause other life-threatening symptoms like rheumatic heart disease. 



Risk factors 


The following can be risk factors for sore throat;


  • Allergies to dust, dander, and mites

  • Breathing in dry air that makes your throat dry and scratchy

  • Exposure to outdoor pollutants and irritants

  • Drinking too much alcohol and smoking cigarettes

  • Eating spicy food that irritates your throat

  • Talking loudly for a long time and with strain

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease- a condition in which gastric acid regurgitates backward from stomach to esophagus

  • HIV infection-it suppresses your immune system and predisposes you to infections

  • Tumors of throat

  • Living in a close environment

  • Suffering from a chronic or frequent sinus infection

  • Weekend immunity 

  • Diabetes 

  • Stress


Prevention 


To prevent repeated sore throat, you must exercise the following tips;


  • Do not share your personal items with anyone else

  • Cough or sneeze in a tissue paper and throw it away in the dust bin right away

  • Wash your hands after using a toilet, shaking hands, before eating, after coughing and sneezing

  • Avoid touching high touch surfaces

  • Avoid close contact with sick people


Conclusion


Sore throat is a condition in which your throat pains, itches along with scratchiness. Moreover, the pain worsens upon eating or swallowing. Mostly sore throat occurs due to a bacterial or viral infestation. Usually, a sore throat goes away on its own. But sometimes you may need to take an antibiotic to get rid of it. Sore throats are more common in young children because they remain in close exposure in schools and institutes. 


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