When you have a sore throat, the area typically feels irritated, scratchy or swollen. The most common cause of this condition is a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu. If your symptoms are caused by a virus, they’ll resolve on their own and can be treated at home, but sometimes, a sore throat can be indicative of a condition like a bacterial infection that requires treatment from a medical professional.
If you or your child have a sore throat that doesn’t seem to get better, our team at Charleston ENT & Allergy will provide treatment that will help get you back to full health.
What Causes a Sore Throat?
- Viral infections from the flu or common cold
- Bacterial infections such as strep throat, tonsillitis, whooping cough and diphtheria
- Acid reflux
- Strained vocal cords
- Environmental irritants
How Does an ENT Treat a Sore Throat?
Our provider will work collaboratively with you to help ease your symptoms and determine what’s causing them. Along with taking a medical history, they’ll conduct a physical exam that might include looking at your throat, ears and nasal passages, feeling your neck and listening to your breathing. They may also perform a throat swab test to detect any bacteria.
If your throat is sore for longer than a week, your symptoms might be caused by a bacterial infection that can be treated with antibiotics. One such infection is strep throat, which leads to a sore and scratchy throat along with difficulty swallowing. If you have pain in your throat that came on quickly, it might be the result of strep throat.
Frequent sore throats could be a sign of reoccurring tonsil infections, which may require a procedure called a tonsillectomy.
No matter what’s causing your symptoms, our team will be here to support you and provide treatment.
How Can I Soothe a Sore Throat at Home?
- Drink fluids, but avoid caffeine and alcohol
- Gargle with saltwater
- Sleep and rest your voice
- Use lozenges or hard candy
- Over-the-counter pain medications
When Should I Seek Medical Attention?
If your child’s sore throat does not get better after the first day, particularly after drinking water, you should take them to a doctor. Seek immediate care if your child has difficulty breathing or swallowing, and keep an eye out for unusual drooling, which may be a sign that they’re having trouble swallowing.
Adults should seek treatment if they have a severe sore throat or symptoms that last longer than a week, or any of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing, swallowing or opening your mouth
- A fever higher than 101F
- Swelling in your neck or face
- A lump in your neck
- Joint pain
What Are the Next Steps?
If you or your child have a severe or lingering sore throat, get in touch with our office. Whether you’re a new or returning patient, we can determine what’s causing your symptoms and provide treatment. Sore throats don’t have to be a constant factor in your life.