Sore throat pain can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, acid reflux disease, allergies or postnasal drip. Sore throat pain can be mild or severe, and the pain can radiate to either ear. Infections that produce sore throat pain are often accompanied by fever, nasal congestion and cough. Acid reflux-related sore throat pain is accompanied by heartburn, throat clearing and cough. Nasal congestion and allergies cause sore throat because of the constant dripping of mucus from the nose down to the throat. If you do not seek treatment for your sore throat, you risk serious infection.
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Things you need
- Anti-inflammatory medication
Visit your doctor. You will need a physical examination to determine what is causing your sore throat pain. Your doctor might refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist if he cannot determine the source of your pain. Your treatment will depend upon the reason for your sore throat.
Take your antibiotics. If your sore throat pain is due to a bacterial infection, your physician will prescribe antibiotics. You will need to complete the entire course of medication to make sure your infection is completely gone. When your infection resolves, your sore throat pain will ease.
Try an anti-inflammatory medication. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory analgesics are effective in easing sore throat pain. Check with your doctor to make sure they are appropriate for you. Anti-inflammatory medication may not be right for your situation if you are taking blood thinners, because they can intensify blood thinning effects.
Ask about an antihistamine. Ask your doctor if taking an antihistamine is appropriate for your pain. Antihistamines dry up nasal secretions and prevent irritating mucus from running down your throat.
Sleep with a humidifier. Dry air is a cause of sore throat pain, and humidifying the air can moisten dried out throat tissues and mucus membranes to ease your pain.
Tips and warnings
- Suck on a throat lozenge. Throat lozenges lubricate sore, dry throats and alleviate pain. Lozenges can increase saliva and soothe sore throat pain, says University of Maryland Medical Center. They can also help quiet an accompanying cough.
- If you experience difficulty swallowing or breathing, seek immediate medical attention. You might have a severe infection that is causing your airway to narrow and will need prompt medical treatment.
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