Monday, July 14, 2008

What Is Sore Throat

A sore throat (also known as pharyngitis or tonsillitis) is a disease primarily located in the area around the tonsils. It can be caused by both a virus and a bacteria. A sore throat is partly a disease in itself and partly an effect of other diseases such as flu and glandular fever.The disease is normally seen in children and young people but it can occur at any age. The characteristics of the disease are throat pain and trouble swallowing. If the disease is due to bacteria it can be treated with antibiotics. Usually there are no complications.

What are the signs of a sore throat?

Breathing through the mouth (can cause drying and irritation of the throat)Common coldViral pharyngitisInfluenzaStrep throat (caused by streptococcal bacteria)Infectious mononucleosisFish, chicken bone, or other foreign substance stuck in the throat. (For emergency actions, see choking child or adult or CPR.)Endotracheal intubation (tube insertion)Surgery such as tonsillectomy and adenoidectomySore throat caused by bacteriaBacterial causes of sore throat or tonsillitis can require further attention from parents and pediatricians. Streptococcus, or strep, is the most frequently found bacterial cause of sore throat. This germ requires an antibiotic for rapid treatment. Antibiotics do not lower the body's immune system or make it "lazy." On the contrary, antibiotics enable the normal, healthy immune system to kill bacteria (like strep) more rapidly and effectively.

Treatment For Sore Throat

Viral pharyngitis: Treat symptomatically with hydration, decongestants, saline nasal spray, analgesics, and restStrep pharyngitis: Appropriate antibiotics (e.g., penicillin, erythromycin) and symptomatic treatment with analgesicsMononucleosis: Symptomatic treatment with analgesics; limit contact sports if splenomegaly is present –Hospitalization in patients with encephalitis, airway compromise, or dehydration due to nausea/vomiting secondary to hepatitisAllergic pharyngitis: Antihistamines, nasal steroidsForeign body: Protect airway; removal by ENT doctorGERD: H2 blockers (e.g., ranitidine) or proton pump inhibitors (e.g., omeprazole), elevate head of bed, weight loss, small meals

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