Sore throat, which is also called throat pain, is a condition whereby the throat becomes irritated or painful. It often results from bacterial or viral infection but could also be caused by throat or tonsil inflammation (pharyngitis or tonsillitis). If a virus is causing your throat pain, standard antibiotics will not help. However, they can be effective if streptococcus group A bacteria is the culprit.
While most cases of throat pain are not serious, you do not want the infection to spread or cause abscesses or quinsy, because if this happens there is a risk or rheumatic fever and even heart disease. About eighty percent of throat pain cases are the result of viral infection, while the remainder is caused by bacteria, tumors or trauma. Some people also develop Gastro esophageal based acid reflux which makes the stomach acid back up inside the throat which will cause soreness.
The symptoms for both bacterial and viral infection are similar, so it can be difficult to tell the difference without the assistance of a physician or test. It is best to have a doctor make a diagnosis prior to attempting treatment. If the throat soreness is caused by bacteria, this can be verified by taking a throat culture test. The doctor will use a swab to extract a throat sample which will then be grown in a blood based agar plate so that confirmation can be made.
Treatment decisions are often determined by the symptoms exhibited. Rapid tests are designed to identify GAS based bacteria and will provide either a negative or positive result based on color changes in the testing strip. These strips will usually come with a swab which will detect the carbohydrate cell wall which is GAS specific based on the immunologic reaction. The majority of rapid tests may be completed within five to ten minutes.
McDaid Pharmacy carries a variety of products which are designed to alleviate sore throat. These include Sore Throat & Blocked Nose lozenges, Sore Throat Spray with Sage and Echinacea, Vick’s Vaporub and Oraldene Medicated Mouthwash. Many of these products contain acetaminophen and NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) which are designed to assist in pain management. As an alternative, some people also use corticosteroids. Antibiotics require a prescription from a doctor and might only reduce the pain duration symptoms by around twenty hours. Drinking certain hot or cold beverages might also alleviate this condition.