A chronic sore throat can be a symptom of many health issues like infection, allergies, and underlying illnesses. Diagnosing the chronic sore throat and its causes is the first step toward getting the appropriate treatment. Once you understand what causes your chronic sore throat, you can also avoid its triggers. Typically, the sore throat should last between 4-10 days; however, you need to get treated if the symptoms persist beyond that.
Symptoms of Chronic Sore Throat
- Painful and scratchy throat
- Pain when talking or swallowing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Swollen glands on the jaw or neck
- Red swollen tonsils
- White or gray patches on your tonsils
- A muffled, hoarse voice
Causes of Chronic Sore Throat
Smoking or exposure to smoke exposes your sensitive throat tissues to irritants. As a result, regular smokers may have sore throats that are chronic in nature. It explains why throat specialists in Mumbai advise smokers to get checked frequently.
Air pollution in larger cities and industrial zones can affect the respiratory tract. Breathing this polluted air is as harmful as smoking a cigarette. Breathing polluted air may cause a sore throat, chest pain, coughing, and asthma symptoms.
Allergens like pollen, foods, cosmetics, cleaning products, etc, cause allergic reactions in the body. In addition, allergies can cause excess mucus to drain down behind the nasal passage into the throat. This drainage can cause irritation and sore throat.
Breathing through the mouth
Breathing through your nose warms the air that goes into your lungs. However, you can develop a sore throat when breathing through the mouth regularly. It happens in the case of blocked nasal passages or sleep disorders. It causes mouth dryness which dries the throat and leads to a sore throat.
Bacterial and Viral Infections
Flu or cold can cause pain in your throat for a few weeks, even when the initial infections subside. Viruses cause flu and colds, and they are the leading causes of chronic sore throats. If they do not go away on their own, you should consult a throat specialist in Mumbai. Bacterial infections can be treated using antibiotics and viral infections with antivirals.
Viruses and bacteria can cause inflammation in the throat leading to tonsillitis. This throat infection mainly affects children, but anyone can have it. The treatment depends on whether the primary infection is viral or bacterial.
Mononucleosis lasts for over two months, and it causes flu-like symptoms, including sore throat. The sore throat can be chronic and can last through the entire infection.
When the muscle above the stomach becomes weak and leaks acid to the esophagus, it causes acid reflux. When the acid reaches the esophagus, it causes heartburn—a painful burning sensation. Prolonged acid reflux causes sore throat, and anyone with the same should seek treatment.
Diagnosing Chronic Sore Throat
Patients experiencing chronic sore throat symptoms should visit a doctor to check their throats. Throat specialists in Mumbai will check for swelling, redness, and white/gray patches. Your doctor also looks at your nose and ears for any swollen lymph nodes to determine the extent of the sore throat.
A throat culture is performed if your doctor is concerned you might have strep throat. The doctor will use a cotton swab to take samples of the secretions from the throat. Most throat doctors can perform rapid tests in the office and give immediate results. However, if they do not diagnose streptococcus, the samples will be sent to the lab for more testing.
If your throat specialist in Mumbai suspects an underlying cause of your pharyngitis, further tests must be done. A blood sample will be drawn from your arm and then sent for testing at the lab. A complete blood count helps the doctor determine if you have any other infections.
Treating Chronic Sore Throat
A sore throat caused by flu can last for about seven days and may not need medical treatment. Conditions that antibiotics cannot treat can be managed by taking mild pain relievers like acetaminophen which can also reduce fever.
In cases where viral infections cause a sore throat, the throat specialist in Mumbai will prescribe antibiotics. Amoxicillin and penicillin are used to treat strep throat and can manage chronic sore throat. However, patients are advised to complete the entire dosage to prevent a re-occurrence or worsen the infection. The course of medication is prescribed by the doctor. It is now clear that a chronic sore throat can affect one’s life if not treated promptly. Considering sore throat is a common symptom, most people ignore seeking medical care for it. Even though sore throat from viral and bacterial infections resolve with time, getting treatment is critical. If your sore throat persists, it is time to seek medical care. Make an appointment if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above.