Sore Throats – Boys Town Ear, Nose & Throat Institute


Most sore throats are caused by viruses, so
everyone is pretty familiar with a doctor telling you that. Some sore throats are caused by bacteria and
some people are familiar with strep throat that you get the test for. That’s the most
important bacterial one to get diagnosed because it has some complications. Allergies can also cause sore throats. Reflux,
which is acid coming back up your throat can cause sore throats. Then there are a variety
of things that you have to worry about. If you’re a smoker, a tumor or growth can cause
a sore throat, that’s pretty rare of course and not something we see in kids. Fair amount of the time, it’s ok if you
don’t go to the doctor for a sore throat. If it’s a mild sore throat, lasts a day
or two, it’s probably not worth going to the doctor. Mostly you look at severity and duration.
If you have a sore throat so bad that you can’t swallow, so bad that you can’t open
your mouth, or if you have a fever associated with it, temp of 100 or 101 for a day or two
is probably ok, 102 or 103 or a fever not going away after a day or two, those are all
things you want to go see the doctor for. A sore throat, if its in the five to seven
day range and it’s not getting any better, it’s a good time to see the doctor. If you
have a sore throat that’s not acute and kind of more chronic, and has been going
on for a couple of weeks, you should definitely see the doctor in that time frame. When you go in to the doctor and it’s more
of an acute sore throat, you’re probably going to end up with a strep test. If you
get a bacterial result from the test and you have strep then you’ll get some antibiotics
otherwise you’re going to get told, it’s a virus, take some Tylenol or Motrin, gargle
with some warm salt water and wait until it goes away. If it’s more complicated, if it’s something
due to allergies or reflux, as determined by your physician, then you’re possibly
going to get some treatment for your allergies, possibly some dietary changes to try to treat
your reflux. Over-the-counter things for sore throats should
only be used on a temporary basis. The throat sprays and the sore throat cough meds, that type
of thing, if you read the labels it’s going to say to only use them for two or three days,
but actually Tylenol or Motrin, and a warm salt water gargle is better than any of
the over-the-counter stuff.

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