Do you feel pain or itchiness in your throat? Sore throats are common both in children and in adults.
Dry air, dehydration, allergies, perfumes, and even cigarette smoke can cause discomfort. Most sore throats go away on their own, but if your symptoms persist, it could be a sign of an underlying problem that can’t be fixed by simply waiting it out.
Below, we asked our experts at Bethel Family Medicine in Brockton, Massachusetts, to explain why you shouldn’t ignore your sore throat.
The most common cause of a sore throat is a viral infection. Sore throats caused by the cold or the flu usually resolve on their own, as long as you have a healthy immune system.
However, patients suffering from diabetes or conditions that impair the immune system, and those taking medications that suppress the immune system, are more likely to develop complications if they don’t receive medical attention.
The second most common cause of sore throats is a bacterial infection. Bacteria often spread from one sick person to another through foods that are shared, drinking cups, or droplets. Bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics.
Less common causes of sore throat include gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and tumors.
You may need to see a medical professional if your sore throat doesn’t get better on its own within a week. Over-the-counter medications may help relieve the symptoms. If the symptoms come back as soon as you stop taking the medications, you may need to treat the root cause of the sore throat.
Other symptoms that should prompt a visit to a medical professional include the following:
Typically, sore throats are diagnosed based on symptoms and the appearance of your throat (whether there are white spots, inflammation, swollen tonsils, etc.). In certain cases, however, medical professionals take a swab of the back of the throat and have it tested in a lab.
Left untreated, a sore throat may lead to complications, especially if the cause of the symptoms is a bacterial infection that can spread to the sinuses, the middle ear, or the blood. Get peace of mind by scheduling an appointment with us, and have your sore throat diagnosed and treated.
Call us at 508-588-1200 or request an appointment on our contact page.