Watch That Sore Throat

For people on the go, it pays to know that sudden changes in weather conditions and body temperature can lead to illnesses like sore throat. Sore throat is defined as a disease that leaves the tissues sore, affecting the area around the tonsils. It is caused by viruses, bacteria or irritation. The illness, also known as pharyngitis or   tonsillitis , results in throat pains and difficulty in swallowing.

Prone to sore throats are those who are subject to abrupt changes in temperature (e.g., people who stay in fully air-conditioned rooms then walk under the sizzling heat of the sun, employees whose job requires field work and dealing with people, children playing in an open field). After being exposed to the sun’s heat, taking several glasses of cold water or a shower will most likely cause this illness.

Other Causes and Complications

Smoking is another common cause of  tonsillitis . If you smoke, or are always with smokers, your throat can easily get irritated. To prevent yourself from getting sore throat, it is best to keep yourself at a safe distance from smokers and take supplements to strengthen your body’s resistance against diseases.

“Some people may not know it but sore throat can be contagious, especially if it is caused by viruses or bacteria. It can be spread through coughing, sneezing, touching, or sharing food and drinks. You can catch it anywhere-in school, at work, in a public transport, even at home,” one expert says. “Although it’s an ailment in itself,” she continues, “sore throat can also be a symptom of other illnesses such as the common cold, cough, flu and allergy.”

Research says serious sore throat, also called strep throat, is often caused by Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. Recurring sore or strep throat may lead to other serious diseases such as rheumatic heart fever and other heart ailments, arthritis, nephritis and scarlet fever.

Treatment

To avoid recurrence and pending complications of sore throat, try the following first-aid measures before consulting your doctor.

o Drink plenty of liquid. Taking lots of liquid like water and juice not only helps soothe the throat, it also helps cleanse the system of impurities that cause illnesses.

o Gargle with lukewarm salt water. The salt helps heal the soreness while the gargling action aids in alleviating the inflammation.

o Avoid dry and dusty places. The air has microscopic substances that can irritate your throat.

o Stop smoking. If you can’t quit, at least stop smoking until your throat’s condition gets better.

o Take aspirin. If the pain becomes too much to handle, take aspirin for quick relief.

o Keep silent. Use this opportunity to give your throat and vocal chords their much-needed rest. Speaking aggravates sore throat, so help your throat heal itself by refraining from talking.

o Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands thoroughly, avoid sharing eating utensils, and disinfect the objects handled by a patient suffering from this disease.

o Take lozenges. Lozenges are a quick way to soothe and relieve sore throat. Take them especially when the pain becomes acute, but avoid non-medicated candies.