Sore Throat

What is a sore throat?

  • Everyone has sometimes a sore throat. It ranges from mere discomfort, to severe pain with difficulty swallowing or talking. Often, a sore throat is accompanied with the common cold.
  • In the case of an inflammation, the back of your throat is usually quite red. Sometimes there are seen whitish spots or thick mucus.
  • The glands in your neck can grow and be sensitive. You can also get fever.

What causes a sore throat?

  • Usually sore throat is because of an infection with a common cold virus. A sore throat caused by a bacterium is less common.
  • Of the 100 people with sore throat approximately two will have a sore throat caused by Pfeiffer virus, and even less an STI.
  • Further, a sore throat can be caused by other factors such as smoking, excessive throat clearing, excessive shouting and dry air, sometimes because of an enlarged thyroid.

Can a sore throat hurt?

  • Sore throat is annoying, but can rarely harm. It usually passes on its own within 10 days.
  • If you continuously charge your throat by smoking, singing, shouting or talking much, sore throat can sometimes take longer.

What can you do?

  • Regularly drink cold water it can ease the pain.
  • Also, try to suck on something, like a licorice or sweet, it soothes the pain. (the sore throat doesn’t heal faster)
  • Special lozenges are not required. Most lozenges help against the symptoms, but it is unknown whether they help better than sucking on something else, such as liquorice. They are more expensive.
  • In some lozenges are NSAIDs (such as flurbiprofen). These are painkillers that you can not just swallow unlimited. They also have side effects. Therefore, we recommend not to use these. Check the packaging to check what’s in a lozenge.
  • Take rest if you feel you need to. Especially if you have a fever and you don’t feel good.
  • Give your voice calm, so talk as little as possible. If you talk to, just chat and do not whisper.

Medicines for sore throat (adults)

  • You can take paracetamol for the pain at fixed times. Do you have pain, take 4 times daily 2 tablets of 500 mg. If swallowing is painful, ask for dissolving paracetamol tablets or drink.
  • If paracetamol in that quantity does not help, try an NSAID (naproxen, ibuprofen or diclofenac). Note: NSAIDs painkillers are good but they regularly give unpleasant side effects. They can give serious stomach problems and affect the action of other drugs. Are you older than 60? Do you have gastric, intestinal, cardiovascular, vascular or kidney problems? Do you use drugs? Or have you ever had an allergic reaction after an NSAID? Consult first with your doctor or pharmacist before taking an NSAID.
  • Antibiotics for sore throat usually pointless. Even if the sore throat is caused by a bacterium.
  • Is the inflammation is caused by a virus, antibiotics are not working. The desease is almost always self-limiting.
  • A simple throat infection caused by bacteria, almost always heals itself. Antibiotics  give only half a day less complaints than doing nothing. The disadvantages of antibiotics are the risks of side effects, allergic reactions and bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

When consulting the doctor with a sore throat (adults)?

Call your doctor in one of these situations:

  • Shortness of breath
  • You have wheezing or whistling breathing.
  • Drinking or swallowing is no longer possible.
  • You drool.
  • You can not properly open your mouth.
  • You will be getting sicker.
  • You complaints on one side of your head (like earache).

Call also:

  • If you have a chronic disease (your resistance may be lower);
  • if you are unsure whether you can safely use an NSAID;
  • if you still have high fever after 3 days;
  • if the sore throat lasts longer than 10 days.
  • If there are other symptoms that you are worried, talk with your doctor too.


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