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If ever there was a time to keep the winter infections at bay, now would be it.
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A sore throat can be painful, affecting your ability to swallow and speak. Usually associated with colds, flu, and upper respiratory tract infections, the most common cause is a viral infection, although a throat infection can be bacterial, or very rarely, fungal.
If you’ve got an upper respiratory tract infection, the most common cause of sore throats, chances are you’ll have a stuffy or a runny nose, sneezing, and a general feeling of being unwell.
The best thing you can do is increase your liquid intake (try warm tea with honey and lemon juice) and keep your bedroom humidified to help loosen mucous build-up, so you can breathe easier. Medically speaking, to relieve a sore throat try analgesic and antibacterial gargles, throat sprays or lozenges or try over-the-counter pain relievers like antipyretics and anti-inflammatories.
Strep throat, named for the Streptococcus bacterium that causes the condition, is the most common bacterial infection that strikes both children and adults. It is accompanied by sinusitis with a blocked nose, facial pain, and nasal discharge.
There may also be other symptoms, depending on where else the infection has targeted. It needs to be treated with antibiotics, or it could lead to tonsillitis, ear infections, or pneumonia.
This is a rare cause of sore throats and usually, occurs after other infections and antibiotics. It is most often manifests itself as a white film on the tongue and in the mouth and pharynx. It needs to be diagnosed and treated by a doctor.
Antibiotics are drugs that kill or impair bacteria. They will not help you get over a sore throat caused by a viral infection. However, viruses can lower your resistance to bacteria.
So, when you have a viral infection, bacteria often take this opportunity to infect you – leaving you with a bacterial infection over and above the viral infection. When such a combined infection is suspected by your doctor, antibiotics are given.
This has become an increasingly common cause of sore throats and is caused when acid from the stomach is “brought up” burning the throat. It can be caused by stress, spicy food, alcohol, caffeine, excess weight, smoking, or in some cases an inherent weakness of the lower oesophageal sphincter, causing a severe sore throat that feels more like a lump in the throat.
Avoid eating within three hours of bedtime and eliminate alcohol and caffeine intake. Antacids are effective if you also have heartburn. Make it a habit to sleep with your head in an elevated position to help reduce reflux during sleep. This can be achieved by using one or two extra pillows.
If you can afford it, getting a bed that can be raised (similar to the ones used in hospitals) would be a very good idea. If not, you can raise the head side of your bed with blocks of wood or something similar.
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