How to prevent Sore Throats?

How to prevent Sore Throats?

Sore throats can become a common nuisance, especially during the winter months. The start of a sore throat can include symptoms of discomfort and slight pain when swallowing, which gets worse and can take some days to resolve. There are many different ways to avoid and treat a sore throat, and early detection can help reduce the severity and duration of this common ailment.

Sore throats, or what’s referred to as acute pharyngitis in medical terms, is commonly caused by either a bacterial or viral infection. The common cold viruses are often attributed as the cause of sore throats in up to 90 per cent of patients, with bacterial infection only causing around 10-15 per cent of acute pharyngitis cases.

Most sore throat sufferers initially develop pain when swallowing, as well as the sensation of heat at the back of the throat. Fever, headache and swollen glands can also accompany a sore throat, with nasal congestion, hoarseness and sinus pain common in viral throat infections. These symptoms can persist over the course of the illness.

Because viruses commonly cause a sore throat, antibiotics are unable to be used in treatment. Therefore, supportive therapy and care is best to reduce the length and severity of the illness. Often paracetamol and aspirin are used to treat the pain involved with a sore throat and offer good analgesia.

Other treatments that are beneficial for the symptomatic relief of a sore throat include throat lozenges, which can offer a soothing effect and temporarily reduce pain and discomfort. Throat gargles with warm salty water can also reduce symptoms and provide greater relief.

Prevention of a sore throat relies on good hand hygiene – by washing hands regularly you can prevent the transmission of the viruses that cause acute pharyngitis. It’s also important to cover your nose or mouth if coughing or sneezing to reduce spread and avoid touching your mouth or eyes before you have washed your hands if you’ve been in contact with someone suffering from a sore throat.

If your symptoms of a sore throat persist, or if you develop breathing difficulties or high temperatures, it’s important to consult your general practitioner for advice and further management.