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This article will discuss sore throat and if one needs a prescription for sore throat.
What is a sore throat?
The common term for sore pharyngitis is sore throat. It is a common infection. Common symptoms may include, for instance:
- Pain in the throat
- Hoarse voice
- Swollen glands in the neck
To start, symptoms generally subside within a week, with the cough or sore throat taking slightly longer to heal. Also, you may experience a sore throat in case of tonsillitis. But, the symptoms will be more severe. Thus, you must consult a doctor for further treatment. Nevertheless, you may get a delayed prescription for a sore throat.
Generally, a sore throat will not require any treatment. But, ensure that you keep yourself hydrated, even if it is painful to swallow. Additionally, fluids will help with the fever and headaches too. Take painkillers at regular intervals for relief from headaches as well as fever. Gargles, lozenges and even sucking on a popsicle can also help soothe a sore throat.
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Do I need to get any tests done?
Generally, sore throat does not require any tests as it gets better by itself. However, if the symptoms do not get better, a doctor may take a throat swab to determine which germ is causing the problem. Further, blood tests are usually only required if glandular fever is suspected.
Do I need antibiotic medicine?
Since viruses cause most cases of sore throat, doctors do not prescribe antibiotics. Antibiotics help kill bacteria but have no impact on viruses. Further, they also have some side effects, due to which they are avoided. See the leaflet called Why wasn’t I prescribed antibiotics? for more detail.
Additionally, some points that the doctor will consider while deciding whether to prescribe antibiotics or not are as follows, for example:
- Presence of pus on the tonsils.
- Absence of cough.
- High temperature.
- Tender lymph glands in the neck.
Further, if three or more of the above symptoms are present, doctors give advice regarding a “delayed prescription for sore throat”. This means that you should wait for 2-3 days and if the symptoms do not clear up, then you should start the antibiotics. Doctors may also prescribe antibiotics to people with a history of heart valve issues or who have had rheumatic fevers for sore throats.
- Ear Infections.
- Chest Infections.
- Glandular fever.
- Peritonsillar abscess – Collection of pus next to one tonsil, making the tonsil appear swollen and swallowing painful. This needs antibiotics and may also sometimes require surgery to drain the abscess.
Non-infective causes of sore throat
An allergy such as hay fever can also cause a sore throat. But, in rare cases, a sore throat can be the first symptom of throat cancer.
Overall, see a doctor if symptoms of a sore throat are severe, unusual, or do not ease within 2-3 days. If you have any of the following symptoms, please visit the emergency room.
- Difficulty in breathing, swallowing saliva or opening the mouth
- Persistently high fever