Patient Guide On Sore Throat: Causes And Urgent Medical Care

Patient Guide On Sore Throat: Causes And Urgent Medical Care

Jun 01, 2021

Sore Throat: Medical Definition

“Sore throat” is a term used to describe pain, discomfort, irritation, or scratchiness in the pharynx or “throat”. The main regions of the pharynx can be traced from the back of the nose, the neck, all the way down to the upper portion of the trachea and the oesophagus. It is divided into three major portions: hypopharynx, nasopharynx, and oropharynx.

Throat (Pharynx) Function

What is the function of the throat and why is keeping it healthy important?

The pharynx or throat is a muscular tube that is responsible for easing the passage of air into and out of the body. It is also the channel for food and liquid which you ingest.

It serves as a breathing passage and a medium for transporting food and liquids into your digestive organs.

At the same time, it plays a role in affecting speech, too. Vibrations from your vocal folds are projected as they interact with air. And the throat is a small space that quickly, but securely, allows air and vibrations to meld together and be released as “sound”. Therefore, a healthy throat means being able to project a strong and audible speech.

Common Causes Of Sore Throat

1. Colds, Influenza (The Flu), Strep Throat, And Viral Infections

Colds and flu are among the most common causes of a sore throat medical emergency. When a virus gets through to your nose’s and throat’s protective lining, your immune system will respond to it, and the result is that these body parts become irritated.

The presence of a virus and viral infections may inflame and irritate the throat.

2. Allergies

Natural elements from pollen to dust can trigger a negative immune reaction. Exposure to these elements may result in throat discomfort, which is often accompanied by sneezing, nasal congestion, red and watery eyes, etc.

3. Post-Nasal Drip

Whether in relation to having colds, the flu, a viral infection, or as an outcome of an allergic reaction, a post-nasal drip can upset the pharynx.

4. Dry Air, Smoke, And Irritants

Not having enough moisture in the pharyngeal region may lead to throat irritation. Meanwhile, irritants such as smoke, air pollution, and other chemicals may have the same impact on your throat as well.

5. Other Medical Conditions

Rarer, more severe medical conditions may be the root cause of a sore pharynx. GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease pushes stomach acids so that they rise into the oesophagus, thereby permitting the acid to reach and negatively affect the throat (acid reflux). Symptoms that persist may entail immediate medical attention in a freestanding er near you.

Tumours in the voice box, tongue, or pharynx will inevitably bring about throat pain, among other discomforts in and around these body parts.

When To Seek Emergency Care

A sore throat emergency care should be given much importance in the event that a sore pharynx becomes aggravated. Here are symptoms to watch out for.

1. Lengthened Throat Discomfort And Pain

A common sore throat, whether due to colds, irritants, or bacteria, should last no more than 10 days. 2 full weeks, at the maximum. Yet if your throat pain persists after a two-week period, it will be wise to contact your physician to have an emergency room Houston recommends be reserved for your use.

2. Fever Above 101 Degrees And/Or Lengthened Period Of Fever And Body Malaise

Contracting a fever above 101°F (above 38.3 °C) should warrant that you book an emergency room for a sore throat. In addition to this, the fever should be sustained for over two days, with a possibility of increasing within this duration, and beyond.

These symptoms, which are linked to a severely irritated, inflamed, and/or painful pharynx, are considered emergency situations that require urgent medical attention. A high and sustained increase in body temperature could be a pointer towards an infection or a viral illness that has to be addressed with immediacy.

3. Swollen Adenoids Or “Tonsils”

Swollen adenoids or “tonsils” may worsen when not treated urgently. A series of other bodily ailments may transpire because of this – ear infection and hearing loss, fluid accumulation in parts of mid to inner ear, respiratory tract infection, breathing difficulty, and more.

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