Sore throat: One of the most common health problems in daily life is throat inflammation. Throat inflammation, which is more common in society especially in cold weather, can result in more serious health problems if not treated with timely and appropriate intervention. Therefore, it is very important for our health to know the causes, symptoms, and what can be done in the treatment of throat inflammation.
What is throat inflammation?
Throat inflammation, which is medically called acute tonsillopharyngitis, is the inflammation of the region, which is anatomically referred to as the nasopharynx, to the larynx (larynx), by various factors. This area anatomically includes the tonsils (tonsils) and the pharynx area (the entire pharynx, including the oropharynx).
The factors that cause the inflammatory reaction can be infections of various microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, or fungi, as well as some rheumatological and immunological diseases.
Causes of throat inflammation?
Our body has some defense zones in order to protect itself from external factors. The first of these is the mouth, which is the first entry point of food and beverages. Just behind the oral cavity are tonsils (tonsils). This is a tissue rich in the body’s defense cells. In this direction, tonsils form one of the first lines of defense of the body by fighting microorganisms that can be taken orally. In the meantime, various microorganisms can settle in the tonsils or throat tissues behind the oral cavity and cause infection. Likewise, since school-age children are often in close contact with others, they tend to encounter a wide variety of microorganisms in situations where respiratory tract fluids such as sneezing and coughing are dispersed into the environment.
If throat inflammation is caused by microorganisms, the underlying condition varies depending on what type of infection it is caused by. While some microorganisms can directly cause inflammation in healthy individuals, some may cause infection when body resistance is low. Again, in the presence of various underlying immunological or rheumatological diseases, inflammation of the throat may develop without the infection of any microorganism. For all these reasons, it is extremely important to evaluate the patient by a specialist physician in the presence of throat inflammation.
In addition, once the cause of sore throat has been determined, if not properly treated, further life-threatening health problems may develop. Therefore, it is very important to apply to a healthcare institution immediately in case of throat inflammation.
The main diseases summarized below can be encountered with throat inflammation:
Bacterial infections such as streptococci: Streptococcal infections, popularly known as “beta microbes”, are one of the most common causes of throat inflammation. Streptococcal infections are responsible for 15-30% of cases of throat inflammation. Also, bacterial infections such as diphtheria bacillus, anaerobic bacteria in the mouth as a result of trauma, and mycoplasma can also cause throat inflammation.
Viral infections such as Adenovirus: Viruses are the most common cause of throat inflammation seen in the community. These include adenovirus, Coxsackie viruses, kissing disease agent EBV, and CMV.
Fungal infections such as candida: Fungi such as candida that cause opportunistic infections, especially in immunocompromised patients, can cause severe throat inflammation.
Immunological diseases such as Kawasaki disease: In some systemic diseases, an inflammatory reaction may develop in the throat tissues without a focus of infection.
Apart from these, some diseases can be confused with throat inflammation by causing a sore throat. These include thyroid inflammations (thyroiditis), gastroesophageal reflux, and various throat tumors.
In various conditions that cause sore throat, especially bacterial infections, if timely and adequate treatment is not given, throat inflammation can result in more serious health problems that can be life-threatening. These include acute rheumatic fever (heart rheumatism) in children, glomerulonephritis causing damage to the kidneys; In addition, serious health problems such as abscess, meningitis, middle and inner ear infections, coagulation in brain vessels, hydrocephalus can be counted.
What are the symptoms of throat inflammation?
Clinical symptoms of throat inflammation vary depending on the cause of the inflammation. However, it can be said that the following symptoms are frequently observed:
- Sore throat: It is the most common symptom of sore throat. It can be seen directly proportional to the severity of the disease. It can be accompanied by swallowing, or it can be viewed in a continuous character.
- Fever and chills: A fever of 38 degrees and above is frequently observed. As fever rises, chills may accompany. Although the presence of fever gives an idea for bacterial infection, it can also be seen in some viral infections.
- Difficulty swallowing: It usually accompanies a sore throat. Difficulty swallowing may result from pain or narrowing of the passage due to swelling in the throat.
- Cough: Cough reflex may occur due to the inflammatory reaction in the throat irritating the larynx. Likewise, it can also be seen in inflammations accompanied by postnasal drip.
- Nasal or postnasal drip: Nasal and/or postnasal drip may accompany especially in inflammation caused by viral infections.
- Nasal congestion: It is common in inflammations caused by a viral infection, together with nasal or nasal discharge.
- Tearing and redness in the eyes: Again, with the effect of viral infections, conjunctivitis may occur in the eyes, and tearing and redness can be seen.
- Weakness – fatigue: As a systemic effect of the inflammatory reaction, the patient may feel weak and exhausted.
- Swelling in the throat – gland formation: As a result of the inflammatory reaction, the lymph nodes in the neck area swell and cause swelling in the throat. Likewise, swelling of the tonsils (tonsils) can be felt from the neck or can be felt during swallowing along with difficulty swallowing.
- Neck or ear pain: Since the throat tissues are in close neighborhood with the anatomical structures in the middle ear or neck, pain may develop in these areas with the effect of inflammation.
- Skin rash: Some bacterial or viral infections may cause rashes and rashes on the skin. These include childhood rubella, sixth disease, viral diseases such as hand-foot disease, or scarlet fever.
- Headache: Throat inflammation can often be accompanied by a headache.
- Nausea – vomiting: Difficulty in swallowing, fever, sore throat, and swelling, as well as nausea and vomiting, can be observed in patients.
- Abdominal pain: In some patients, especially during the course of viral infections, abdominal pain, and diarrhea may be observed due to the effect of the abdominal lymph nodes.
- Muscle and joint pains: Widespread muscle and joint pains are frequently observed in the body, along with complaints of weakness and fatigue.
- Hoarseness: Hoarseness can be seen with the effect of narrowing of the passage in the larynx, as well as complaints such as nasal discharge and cough, along with swelling of the throat.
What is done in the treatment of throat inflammation?
The method to be preferred in the treatment depends on determining the underlying disease that causes throat inflammation. The same treatment or antibiotic treatment is not given for every sore throat. It is absolutely necessary to plan the correct treatment with the correct diagnosis, to heal the throat inflammation, and to get maximum efficiency from the treatment.
If the problem is caused by bacterial infections, antibiotic treatment is started first. The important point here is to determine which type of bacteria causes throat inflammation. Since some bacterial species can be resistant to various antibiotics, the effectiveness of the drug treatment given depends on the culture and resistance studies to be done before. For this, in case of suspicion of bacterial infection, a throat culture is taken from the patient and an antibiotic resistance test is performed on the results. According to this result, the appropriate antibiotic is determined and prescribed.
If the problem is caused by viral infections, the patient is often relieved with symptomatic treatments, and the rest is recommended. Since antiviral treatments for viral agents causing throat inflammation have not been developed, no such treatment is applied. In viral throat inflammation, patients often overcome throat inflammation within 7-10 days. Therefore, symptomatic treatment is sufficient in these cases.
If there are other underlying causes, specific treatments are applied to these diseases.
In addition to these, pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs are generally prescribed to patients. Patients are recommended to drink plenty of fluids along with bed rest
What is good for a sore throat?
In addition to the treatment planning by the physician, it can be fought with throat inflammation with various measures at home as an individual. In this sense, the following can be done:
Rest: Bed rest is effective in recovering the body’s resistance and accelerating recovery.
Abundant fluid intake: Preventing the throat tissues from drying out speeds up the healing of the area. In addition, symptoms such as fever accompanying throat inflammation cause the body to rapidly lose fluid, so it is also important for strengthening immunity and body health.
Consumption of hot and cold foods: In order to prevent swelling of the tissues in the throat due to inflammation, consuming hot and cold foods, mainly liquid, is effective in relieving complaints.
Humidification of ambient air: Dry air is prone to irritate the tissues of the throat, so the air can be humidified with the help of cold steam. Another method is to hang a wet towel on the heater.
Gargle with salt water: Gargling with a saltwater solution prepared with a little salt may be beneficial in reducing complaints.
Prevention of irritation of the throat: Factors that will irritate the throat tissues such as cigarette smoke should be avoided.
Use of lozenges: It can be effective in reducing the difficulty in swallowing by relieving the sore throat due to throat inflammation.
If you have complaints indicating throat inflammation, you should immediately consult a healthcare facility with a specialist physician. Wishing you healthy days.
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