If you are suffering from a cold or flu, you may also be experiencing an annoying sore throat. However, other causes of a sore throat may be a symptom of a more serious medical condition. Whatever the case, sore throats should always be examined by one of our ENT specialists in the Tuscaloosa, Fayette, and Jasper areas for proper diagnosis and treatment suggestions.
Many sore throats are caused by viruses. Symptoms of a sore throat may include pain, a scratching sensation at the back of the throat, tenderness of the neck, and painful swallowing. A sore throat may be accompanied by sneezing, fever, coughing, or swollen lymph nodes.
A sore throat is a generic term to describe pain or discomfort in the throat area, and does not specify the underlying cause. While some sore throats can be caused by irritants, others can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Two common conditions that are caused by an infection are strep throat and tonsillitis.
Streptococcal bacteria in the throat or tonsils classify a strep throat. It is most common in children, but can affect all ages. Strep throat can be spread through air born droplets such as a sneeze or cough, and also by the sharing of food or drinks. This condition is highly contagious, with generally a two to five-day infectious period. During a physical examination and a throat swab test, strep throat can be accurately diagnosed and treated with antibiotics.
In most cases, strep throat resolves within a week with proper treatments, but can last up to two weeks. Symptoms include a sore throat, painful swallowing, swollen tonsils, fever, and white or yellow spots on the throat. It is necessary to address a strep throat as soon as possible to avoid spreading it to others and avoid more serious complications.
If you suspect that your sore throat is caused by strep throat, you will need to set up an appointment with one of our ENT specialists in the Tuscaloosa, Fayette, and Jasper area. To accurately diagnose strep throat, a throat swab must be done to collect a sample of the throat for testing of strep bacteria.
Tonsillitis occurs when the tonsils become inflamed. Tonsils play a significant role in the body’s immune system, capturing bacteria and viruses, which may lead to tonsillitis. In this case, the back of the throat will appear swollen and red and may result in swallowing and breathing complications. You might also experience white or yellow patches on the tonsils, tender lymph nodes, or headache. If you experience these symptoms, your doctor might decide to do a throat swab to test for bacteria.
Antibiotics, including penicillin, is a common treatment for this condition, but it can resolve on its own within a week. If you have recurrent recurrent or chronic tonsillitis, your ENT specialist may recommend the surgical removal of the tonsils to prevent further complications. Those with recurrent or chronic tonsillitis will experience multiple episodes of tonsillitis in a year and a chronic sore throat.
Sore throats are a symptom of common colds and flus that resolve on their own in most cases. However, sometimes a sore throat is something more serious like strep or tonsillitis and will require the proper testing for diagnosis and treatment. As a general rule, a sore throat lasting longer than 48 hours, or one that is severe should be looked at by your ENT specialist.
If you are in the Tuscaloosa, Fayette, or Jasper area and are experiencing an unbearable, distressing sore throat, please contact us today. One of our Alabama Ear, Nose, & Throat Specialists can properly diagnose you with your condition and provide treatment options so you can return to your healthy lifestyle as soon as possible.