Depending upon its severity, a sore throat can range from merely uncomfortable to chronic pain that should be investigated with a prompt visit to a medical professional. Also known as pharnygitis or throat inflammation, a sore throat can develop in a short amount of time due to a variety of causes.
Sleeping with an open mouth and breathing through the mouth can cause a sore throat the following morning. The drainage of the sinus passages can also cause a sore throat. Viruses are often the cause of a sore throat as well as bacteria streptococcus which can lead to a more serious throat infection known as strep throat. Certain medications which compromise the body’s immune system can result in a sore throat. A throat that is chronically sore is often a symptom of a more serious illness such as cancer or aquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
For mild to moderate sore throat pain, there are a number of remedies which can be applied at home to ease the pain and eventually eliminate the uncomfortable inflammation. One of the most popular and affordable is gargling with warm salt water. The use of throat spray and sucking on lozenges designed to numb the pain can also provide temporary relief. Over the counter medications containing ibuprofen or acetaminophen are also effective, as is the use of decongestants if the sinuses are blocked.
More serious sore throats such as strep throat should be examined by a physician who can determine if antibiotics are needed to treat the infection. This is especially important when strep throat causes a sore throat in children and young adults, who are at risk for having their sore throat develop into rheumatic fever which can be life threatening.
An individual who has a sore throat should seek prompt medical attention if the condition lasts more than a few days, is accompanied by neck pain or swelling, high fever or difficulty swallowing.