Are you wondering how to get rid of your throat infection? Read the article to find out the possible causes and treatment options for a sore throat.
Throat infection is referred to as pharyngitis. It presents as irritation, pain, burning sensation, scratching feeling in the throat. It initiates difficulties during swallowing. The most common cause for this is a viral or bacterial infection. Sometimes this bacterium is self-controlled.
This falls in the top 10 disease groups. Some researches show that about 600 million people have had a sore throat in their life span. This problem lasts for a minimum of 3 to 4 days even after taking proper treatment. All races and genders are affected. The most common age for this problem is 5 to 15 years. Children below three years of age are less commonly affected.
It is one type of upper respiratory tract infection. It is referred to as swelling of the trachea or tonsils. Both viral and bacterial pharyngitis have similar pathophysiology, signs, and symptoms. It is a type of contaminated disease that spreads from one person to another via sputum or sneeze particles.
Its onset is sudden and disturbs one’s day-to-day activities because it disturbs the swallowing of food and fluid, leading to weakness.
Signs and Symptoms Associated with Pharyngitis
There are many signs and symptoms associated with pharyngitis. They are as follows:
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Headache - severe headache occurs due to congestion in sinuses. It is referred to as a sinus headache. Due to inflammation of the tracheal wall, there is irritation which leads to over secretion of the sputum constantly. This sputum accumulates into the sinuses around the trachea and gets trapped into it. This blockage of sinuses causes headaches. It may be associated with sneezing, itching, and pain. Pain is aggravated by cold weather and damp atmosphere, forward bending movement in the early morning, and winter.
Cough is absent in acute pharyngitis. It appears after 24 hours of initiation.
Fever - High-grade fever occurs with a bacterial infection. The temperature of a body is above 38 degrees Celsius or 100.4 Fahrenheit. Fever which is associated with pharyngitis, is known as scarlet fever.
Joint pain and muscle ache - This pain is felt in muscles around the neck and shoulder because of overuse. Swelling of tonsils causes overuse of these muscles.
Swollen lymph nodes: Many glands present in our body provide immunity. These nodes get swollen due to bacterial infection, especially from staphylococcus group A ( most common bacteria).
What Causes Pharyngitis?
Abscessed or impacted tooth - Abscessed tooth causes inflammation of the adjacent tissue such as tonsils and trachea, leading to sore throat or throat infection.
Oral ulcers - mainly occur due to infection of bacteria such as Candida species, which cause the spread of disease to the trachea, which leads to irritation and swelling of the throat. It presents as white patches in the mouth.
Viral infection - Rhinovirus, Coronavirus, and Parainfluenza virus grow in cold weather and cause infection. It comes from the respiratory tract and gets trapped into the trachea.
Bacterial infection: Many bacteria cause throat infection, but the most common bacteria are staphylococcus group A in adults and group C and G in children. Bacteria and viruses are usually spread from persons already infected with this infection. Infected persons, while sneezing, release tiny droplets with these organisms in the air and this air, when inhaled by a non-infected person, leads to a sore throat. These viruses and bacteria release the toxins and irritate the throat, which stimulates the mucosa to release the inflammatory elements and cause throat inflammation.
Gastroesophageal reflux - Regurgitation of the acid from the stomach causes damage to the throat mucosa. This condition also increases the risk of infection.
Diagnostic Tests for Throat Infection
There are not many tests available for diagnosing throat infection. Only visual observation and palpation are used in the primary stage, and in the later stage or chronic stage, a throat culture test is used.
Throat culture test: It gives 90 to 99 % accurate results. It is best used in the emergency department. But it is used mainly in office-based practice, which means clinics. Peripheral tissue of the throat is taken with some specific instrument after giving local anesthetics and analgesics. This tissue is investigated in the laboratory for possible infected organisms.
Visual investigation - A doctor or physician may see all the infected areas with the help of torchlight. The infected skin will be visible as red, pink, marked, swollen, and sometimes white patches may appear in the deeper part of the mouth and throat. The doctor may palpate the neck area also for lymph node enlargement. If the patient has a lymph node enlargement, he will feel intense pain even on light palpation by the physician, which may help to confirm the diagnosis. Sometimes, the neck region may also be swollen in the advanced stage.
Natural Remedies for Treating Throat Infection
Saltwater gargling is the best home remedy for treating sore throat. But it gives only temporary relief. For best results, dissolve one teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm water and gargle with it many times a day and before sleep. Warm water and salt will remove the excess fluid within the tissue, leading to tissue shrinkage and decreasing swelling. Use this remedy at least four times a day for effective results.
Use licorice root tea: It fights against viral infection and the associated inflammation. It gives soothing effects on the membrane of the trachea and removes irritation. Take this tea two times a day.
Use baking soda: Its alkaline property helps kill bacteria in the throat. It is a straightforward remedy that works as antibacterial home medicine. It also soothes the minor rashes in the throat. Dissolve half teaspoon salt and half teaspoon baking soda in one cup of warm water and gargle it every four hours.
This disease is self-limiting in nature, and its symptoms are relieved within three to four days. There are many pharmacological treatments used to treat pharyngitis.
If antibiotics are given early in this disease, the symptoms will be relieved within a day. It is best to be used in this case without cough.
Penicillin G benzathine: This medication is effective when bacteria are active in its multiplication. It inhibits the synthesis of the cell wall of bacteria. Inadequate dose only restricts the multiplication and does not destroy the bacteria. So, with insufficient concentration, the chance of recurrence may increase. It is given intramuscularly by injection. The dosage is 1.2 million units in case of staphylococcus infection. It is widely used because of its low cost and minimal side effects.
Amoxicillin: It also restricts the synthesis of tissue in the wall of bacteria. Its most common side effect is skin rash. It does not taste bad, and that is why best acceptable in children. Single-dose daily is enough for destroying bacteria. Dosage - 775 mg once a day for ten days, taken within 1 hour after finishing lunch or dinner.
Cephalexin stops or arrests the production of the wall of the bacteria. It is best effective against rapidly growing bacteria. This drug is widely used in patients who are not comfortable with Penicillin. Dosage - 250 mg every 6 hours or doses range from 1-4 g/day in divided doses.
Azithromycin - It is best used in patients with Penicillin allergy. It has a very high cost and very high effectiveness in destroying bacteria. It has the exact mechanism as above. Dosage - 500 mg once, then 250 mg once daily for four days is enough for treating throat infection. Only a single dose for a shorter duration may give the best results.
Erythromycin - It also has a similar action as above. It gives the best results against Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydophila pneumoniae, Acinetobacter haemolyticus. Dosage - 500 mg every 6 or 12 hours depending on the severity of symptoms or 500 mg every 12 hours or 333 mg every 8 hours.
They are best used in a chronic case of throat infection and swelling.
Dexamethasone - In case of throat infection, it gives the best result when used with antibiotics. Betamethasone is also used as an alternative option. It decreases the release of inflammatory elements and permeability of capillary and leads to suppression of swelling. Dosage - 0.75-9 mg/day intravascular or intramuscular every 6 or 12 hours.
Prednisone - It also has similar activity. It is an inactive form and must be converted into active form Prednisolone. Dosage - 5 mg for six days after taking breakfast or meal or at bedtime.
A sore throat that results from infection by a virus is called viral throat infection. The common viruses that cause throat infection are the influenza virus (cold and flu), varicella-zoster virus (chickenpox), and Epstein-Barr virus (infectious mononucleosis).
Likewise, a sore throat that results from infection by bacteria is called bacterial throat infection. Streptococcus (strep throat) is the most common cause of bacterial throat infection.
Candidiasis or oral thrust that is caused by the yeast Candida is the most common type of yeast infection that can affect the mouth, throat, gastrointestinal tract, and genitals. Candida lives inside the body, and when your immunity is weak, it grows and results in infection.
Depending on the cause, a throat infection can be treated by:
- Throat lozenges.
- Cough syrup.
- Herbal tea.
- Warm salt water gargle.
- Antacids for acid reflux.
- Antibiotics if it is a bacterial infection.
- Take a lot of fluids.
A viral throat infection will last for about a week to ten days. And you will feel better within 2 to 3 days after you start taking antibiotics for bacterial throat infection.
If your throat feels scratchy, burning, raw, dry, or if it irritates, it might be a sign of throat infection.
There is no need to take tablets for viral throat infection. And for bacterial throat infection, Amoxicillin is the preferred antibiotic.
Some of the common causes of a throat infection are cold and flu or other viruses, strep throat and other bacteria, allergies, dry air in winters, environmental irritants, injury to the throat, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and tumor of the throat.
A sore throat that lasts for more than a week is usually due to throat injury (by shouting too much), environmental irritants (cigarette smoke, chemical smoke), or allergies. It can also be due to a dry climate, mouth-breathing habit, and postnasal drip.
Throat infection that is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus is called strep throat. It is the most common bacterial throat infection.
Last reviewed at:
23 Dec 2021 - 10 min read
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