There it is again.
You’ve been wondering if that’s just a tickle in your throat or if it may actually be hurting. You’ve tried to ignore it as long as possible, but it keeps popping up to remind you to pay attention.
But how can you know when it’s actually time to worry or if you can keep shaking it off?
For the team at Physicians Medical Primary Care, sore throats are one of the primary symptoms they see week after week. Here’s their best advice on handling a sore throat — and when to get checked out.
What is a sore throat?
A sore throat occurs when you experience pain, scratchiness, or irritation in your throat. It may feel dry no matter how much liquid you drink, and the soreness may increase when you swallow or try to speak.
The most common cause of a sore throat is a virus, such as a cold or flu virus. Other causes include bacteria (the most common are group A strep bacteria), allergies, dry air, smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, and nasal drainage.
How can I treat my sore throat?
In most cases, you can treat your sore throat at home. Options to make it feel better include:
- Gargling with warm salt water
- Drinking hot fluids (such as tea or soup)
- Avoiding secondhand smoke
- Taking non-prescription medicines such as throat lozenges, decongestants, and anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen
These treatments will often clear up your sore throat in a few days.
When should I worry about my sore throat?
It may be time to see a doctor if the above treatments don’t work or if you have a severe sore throat with a fever of more than 101 degrees for longer than a day or two. You should also see a doctor if your sore throat is preventing you from sleeping or if a red rash appears.
All of these symptoms are indications of a bacterial infection; if this is the case, your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic to clear up the infection and ease your symptoms.
If you experience repeated infections in a short period, your doctor may recommend a tonsillectomy to remove your tonsils.
You can also work to prevent sore throats by replacing your toothbrush every month and getting rid of your old toothbrush after a sore throat to prevent reinfection.
If you think it’s time to have a doctor check your throat, the caring team at Physicians Medical Primary Care is standing by to help. Just call the office closest to you or use our online scheduler to book an appointment!