Sore Throats – Boys Town Ear, Nose & Throat Institute

Most sore throats are either caused by a virus
or bacteria. Those are the most common things. A few other things like allergy or reflux
or irritants like chemicals can cause a sore throat, but the big two are viruses and bacteria. Mostly, it’s duration and severity. If you have a sore throat that’s 2 or 3
days and going away, you really don’t need to see the doctor. If you have something that’s either lasting
longer, in that 5-7 day duration and not getting better, or if it’s severe meaning I’m
having trouble swallowing, I have swelling on one side of my throat, I have troubles
breathing, those are going to be reasons you should go see the doctor without a long wait. When it comes to treatment, viral sore throats
are mostly just going to do supportive care. It just has to run its course. And usually when you have a sore throat or
a cold, the sore throat doesn’t last a long time, only 2 or 3 days, so in a sense that’s
fairly easy to treat since it has an endpoint. Warm salt water goggles, analgesics, if it
hurts take something to ease the pain. There’s the over the counter throat sprays
that can temporarily numb up the throat, I usually don’t push those much because people
sometimes over-use them. You can use them for a day or two. Throat lozenges can help. But mostly, hydration and pain meds. The bacterial sore throats, especially if
it strep, need an antibiotic, and the plus of that is you do get better in about 24-48
hours, so in a sense, it’s easy to treat as well.

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