Having a sore throat is very unpleasant, especially during the rainy season. And while rain is a much-needed blessing, more diseases lurk around the island during these rainy days.
Our previous article discussed the most common diseases during the wet season, including the common cold. In this one, we would like to look closer at sore throat, a common condition caused by viral infections, such as the common cold and flu.
Here is all you need to know about a sore throat, from causes and prevention to when to see a doctor.
What Causes a Sore Throats?
As mentioned above, most cases of sore throats are caused by viral infections, such as the common cold or influenza. These infections lead to inflammation of the throat tissues, resulting in discomfort and pain.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US), other causes of sore throats include:
- The group A streptococcus bacteria, responsible for causing an infection in the throat and tonsils, called strep throat or streptococcal pharyngitis,
- Allergies, and
- Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke.
According to the Cleveland Clinic (US), post-nasal drip, which is excess mucus that builds up and drips down the back of your throat, can also cause irritations that lead to a sore throat.
Furthermore, in some cases, chronic acid reflux in individuals with GERD may also irritate the throat as the stomach acid flows back into the esophagus.
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How Can I Prevent a Sore Throats?
- Practicing good hygiene
One crucial element of practicing good hygiene is keeping your hands clean. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all learned the importance of hand hygiene to help prevent and control the spread of illnesses. Well, the same counts for preventing a sore throat, as it is mainly caused by viruses and bacteria.
- Avoid close contact with people who have sore throats
Both viruses and bacteria, which are the germs causing sore throat, are contagious and can easily spread to others. In other words, it is easy to catch these germs from infected people. Hence, keep a safe distance from those who have sore throats to prevent getting one!
- Stay hydrated!
Yes, staying hydrated is indeed a solution to many different problems. In preventing a sore throat, staying hydrated helps maintain the moisture in the throat, preventing dryness and irritation.
- Avoid irritants!
Aim to minimize exposure to environmental irritants, including cigarette smoke and other pollutants. Using a humidifier in dry environments can also help maintain throat moisture to prevent irritation.
When do I Need to See a Doctor?
While many sore throats resolve on their own or with home remedies, it is always best to consult your GP if you or your child have symptoms of a sore throat.
According to the National Health Services (UK), you should consult a GP if your sore throat does not improve after one week or if you often have sore throats. For long-lasting or severe cases of sore throat, your GP may test you for strep throat.
If your sore throat is accompanied by other symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or swallowing, drooling, dehydration, high fever, a high-pitched sound while breathing, and blood in saliva or phlegm, seek medical care immediately.
By maintaining good hygiene practices, staying hydrated, and being aware of potential environmental irritants, we can significantly reduce the likelihood of experiencing a troublesome sore throat.
However, if, unfortunately, you do get a sore throat during this wet season, our English-speaking team at Prime Plus Medical in Canggu is ready to assist you 24/7.