Throat Infections

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The human body is a very delicate structure. And one of the most delicate parts are the sensory orifices, ear , nose and throat. These three structures are interconnected and an infection in any one of them , would normally be felt in the other. The throat , the one that is hidden within, with the mouth as opening is as delicate as it is vocal. This therefore means that it is constantly moist , and therefore prone to infections. The most common throat infection is sore throat.

A sore throat (throat infection, pharyngitis) is caused when a virus (or bacteria) infects the area at the back of your throat (pharynx). This causes redness and swelling (inflammation), and can be painful, especially when you swallow. Viruses are the most common cause of sore throats. Pharyngitis is most commonly caused by viral infections such as the common cold, influenza, or mononucleosis. … Bacterial infections require antibiotics. The most common bacterial infection of the throat is strep throat, which is caused by group A streptococcus .

A bacterial infection can also cause a sore throat. These types of infections include: strep throat, which is an inflammation of the throat caused by the Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. diphtheria, which causes throat inflammation.

A sore throat is pain, scratchiness or irritation of the throat that often worsens when you swallow. The most common cause of a sore throat (pharyngitis) is a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu. A sore throat caused by a virus resolves on its own.

Strep throat (streptococcal infection), a less common type of sore throat caused by bacteria, requires treatment with antibiotics to prevent complications. Other less common causes of sore throat might require more complex treatment. Sore throats are very common and usually nothing to worry about. They normally get better by themselves within a week.

Signs and symptoms might include
• Pain or a scratchy sensation in the throat
• Pain that worsens with swallowing or talking
• Difficulty swallowing
• Sore, swollen glands in your neck or jaw
• Swollen, red tonsils
• White patches or pus on your tonsils
• Hoarse or muffled voice.

Common infections causing a sore throat might result in other signs and symptoms, including
• Fever
• Cough
• Runny nose
• Sneezing
• Body aches
• Headache
• Nausea or vomiting
There are times when you need to take immediate action, by seeing a doctor:

With Children
• Difficulty breathing
• Difficulty swallowing
• Unusual drooling, which might indicate an inability to swallow
As an adult, see your doctor if you have a sore throat and any of the following associated problems occur .

A sore throat that is severe or lasts longer than a week
• Difficulty swallowing
• Difficulty breathing
• Difficulty opening your mouth
• Joint pain
• Earache
• Rash
• Fever higher than 101 F (38.3 C)
• Blood in saliva or phlegm
• Frequently recurring sore throats
• A lump in your neck
• Hoarseness lasting more than two weeks

A sore throat is often a symptom of
1. colds or flu – you may also have a blocked or runny nose, a cough, a high temperature (fever), a headache and general aches
2. laryngitis (inflammation of the voice box) – you may also have a hoarse voice, a dry cough and a constant need to clear your throat
3. tonsillitis (inflammation of the tonsils) – you may also have red or spotty tonsils, discomfort when swallowing and a fever
4. strep throat (a bacterial throat infection) – you may also have swollen glands in your neck, discomfort when swallowing and tonsillitis
5. glandular fever – you may also feel very tired and have a fever and swollen glands in your neck
6. It may also be caused by something irritating your throat, such as smoke, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (where acid leaks up from the stomach) and allergies.
7. Less common causes.
8. Less often, a sore throat can be a sign of:
9. quinsy (a painful collection of pus at the back of the throat) – the pain may be severe and you may also have difficulty opening your mouth or difficulty swallowing
10. epiglottitis (inflammation of the flap of tissue at the back of the throat) – the pain may be severe and you may have difficulty breathing and difficulty swallowing.

Treatment
Treatments for a sore throat
There are also products such as medicated lozenges and sprays sold in pharmacies that you may want to try. There isn’t much scientific evidence to suggest they help, although some people find them worth using. Antibiotics aren’t usually prescribed for a sore throat, even if it’s caused by a bacterial infection, as they’re unlikely to make you feel better any quicker and they can have unpleasant side effects.

To help soothe a sore throat and shorten how long it lasts you can
• gargle with warm salty water
• drink plenty of water – but avoid hot drinks
• eat cool or soft foods
• avoid smoking or smoky places
• suck ice cubes, ice lollies or hard sweets – but don’t give young children anything small and hard to suck because of the risk of choking
• rest
• To help soothe a sore throat and shorten how long it lasts you can:
• gargle with warm salty water (children shouldn’t try this)
• drink plenty of water – but avoid hot drinks
• eat cool or soft foods
• avoid smoking or smoky places
• suck ice cubes, ice lollies or hard sweets – but don’t give young children anything small and hard to suck because of the risk of choking
• rest
• To help relieve the pain and discomfort of a sore throat you can:
• use paracetamol or ibuprofen
• use medicated lozenges or anaesthetic sprays (although there’s little proof they help)

See you doctor as soon as possible if
• your sore throat doesn’t improve after a week
• you often get sore throats
• you’re worried about your sore throat
• you have a sore throat and a very high temperature, or you feel hot and shivery
• you have a weakened immune system – for example because of diabetes or chemotherapy
• Antibiotics
• Causes and symptoms of sore throats
• Sore throats are usually caused by viruses (like cold or flu) or from smoking.
• Symptoms include:
• painful throat especially when swallowing
• dry scratchy throat
• redness in the back of the mouth
• bad breath
• mild cough
• swollen neck glands
• The symptoms are similar for children, but children can also get a temperature and appear less active.
• you have difficulty swallowing or breathing
• you’re drooling
• your voice changes pitch or becomes wheezy
• your symptoms are severe and getting worse quickly
• These symptoms can make breathing more difficult.

To help relieve the pain and discomfort of a sore throat you can
1. use paracetamol or ibuprofen
2. use medicated lozenges or anaesthetic sprays (although there’s little proof they help)

Please go back to your doctor if you have any of these
• your sore throat doesn’t improve after a week
• you often get sore throats
• you’re worried about your sore throat
• you have a sore throat and a very high temperature, or you feel hot and shivery
• you have a weakened immune system – for example because of diabetes or chemotherapy.
Strep throat, also called streptococcal sore throat, is an infection of the throat and tonsils caused by Streptococcal bacteria. Typical symptoms are sore throat, chills, fever, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck. Strep throat is cured by antibiotic treatment.

Is sore throat infectious?
About 1 in 3 children aged 3–14 years will have a sore throat caused by S. pyogenes, compared with about 1 in 10 adults. You can catch a throat infection when someone infected with the virus or bacteria sneezes or coughs, releasing droplets that contain the virus into the air.

Pharyngitis (viral and bacterial) is contagious and can be transmitted from one person to another. Usually, mucus, nasal discharge and saliva can contain the viruses and/or bacteria that can cause sore throat . Consequently, even kissing can cause transfer of these organisms.

If you have simple viral pharyngitis, your symptoms should go away gradually over a period of about one week. If you have strep throat, your symptoms should subside within two to three days after you begin taking antibiotics.
The bacterium or virus that causes a sore throat is usually caught from someone else who is already infected. For example, the common cold is spread through tiny droplets of fluid that contain the cold virus, launched into the air when someone coughs, sneezes or speaks.

If you breathe in one of these droplets or touch a surface that has the virus on it, and then touch your face, you may become infected.

Home remedies
This sore throat home remedy mixes 1 teaspoon each of powdered ginger and honey, 1⁄2 cup of hot water, and the juice of 1⁄2 squeezed lemon. Pour the water over the ginger, then add the lemon juice and honey, and gargle. Honey coats the throat and also has mild antibacterial properties.
Warm saltwater gargle
Drink warm liquids
Sage/Echinacea throat spray
Apple cider vinegar
Raw garlic
Honey
Throat Coat tea
Suck on ice chips
Peppermint essential oil
Licorice
Marshmallow root
Slippery Elm
Acupuncture
Frozen foods
Eat chicken soup
A humidifier
A warm compress
Throat spray
Lozenges or cough drops
Hard candy
Zinc lozenges
Drink plenty of fluids
Rest
Quit smoking
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications for sore throat pain.

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