Close-up of a female doctor doing a medical examination. The focus is on the mature adult woman being examined.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Does your throat feel scratchy or is it painful when you swallow?

There are various causes of a sore throat, such as a virus, bacteria, allergies or exposure to smoke. Most sore throats will go away on their own through home remedies like gargling with salt water, drinking lots of fluids, getting plenty of rest and using appropriate over-the-counter medications and lozenges. In some cases, severe sore throat symptoms may indicate that you have a bacteria causing strep throat, which often requires a visit to the doctor for a test and a prescription for antibiotics.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers these tips on how to determine the possible cause of your sore throat.

Common signs you have a virus, not strep throat

  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Hoarse voice (i.e. raspy, strained or breathy sounds)

Common strep throat symptoms

  • Fever
  • A sore throat that comes on quickly and is painful when swallowing
  • Small red spots on the roof of the mouth
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Tonsils that are red and swollen and may have white patches

Other strep throat symptoms may include a rash (known as scarlet fever), stomach pain, a headache, and vomiting or nausea (often common in children).

It’s important to see a doctor if you suspect that you or a loved one has strep throat since you may need an antibiotic.

Other ways to stay healthy

This holiday season and throughout the year, don’t forget these tips to stay healthy:

  • Get your flu vaccination
  • Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands or using hand sanitizer often, and coughing and sneezing into your elbow
  • Exercise
  • Keep your stress level down
  • Make healthy food choices
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Stop smoking or using tobacco
  • Limit exposure to people who are sick

If you need medical advice for your sore throat or other illness and want to stay in the comfort of your home or office, log on to Norman Regional Virtual Care and visit with a provider 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a flat rate.