Q. and A. with Dr. Kiskila- This Month’s Topic: Sore Throats
Question- Dr. Kiskila, what causes a sore throat?
Answer- Infections typically are the cause of a sore throat. Infections could be bacterial like strep throat or viral like mono or the flu virus.
Question- If I have a sore throat, does that mean I am getting sick?
Answer- Not necessarily. Sore throats could also be caused by other things that are not infections. Acid reflux could burn your throat and cause a sore throat. Excessive coughing may also cause your throat to be sore. Allergies, smoking, pollution or irritants in the air, dry air, and post nasal drainage are other reasons a throat may be sore.
Question- What is the best way to treat a sore throat?
Answer- The best way to treat a sore throat is to identify the reason why and take action to treat that reason. Controlling acid reflux or allergies may be all that’s needed to alleviate a sore throat, but if an infection is the culprit, then treating the underlying infection is best. Bacterial infections are most effectively treated with antibiotics, while viral infections respond best to a healthy immune system. Boosting your immune system with fluids and rest are important. Symptomatic treatment of a sore throat with anything that is soothing may be of help like honey, tea, or chicken noodle soup. Warm salt water gargles may help alleviate a sore throat. Anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen may help alleviate a sore throat as well.
Question- How do I know if I have strep?
Answer- There are rapid strep tests than can be done in the doctor’s office to test for strep throat. Throat cultures can be sent to the lab to further diagnose strep if indicated by the doctor. The Centor criteria is a tool used by doctors to evaluate for strep based off a patient’s age, exudates or spots on the tonsils or throat, fever, swollen or tender neck glands, and absence of cough (not coughing). Three or more of these criteria help doctors to determine the likelihood of strep or sore throat that requires an antibiotic to treat.
Question- How do I prevent getting a sore throat?
Answer- Wash your hands, cover a cough, and keep your immune system healthy with proper fluids, rest and nutrition.
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.