Sore Throat (Pharyngitis) (cont.)
Steven Doerr, MD
Steven Doerr, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Doerr received his undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He graduated with his Medical Degree from the University Of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado in 1998 and completed his residency training in Emergency Medicine from Denver Health Medical Center in Denver, Colorado in 2002, where he also served as Chief Resident.
Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
In this Article
- Definition of a sore throat
- What is the difference between sore throat and strep throat?
- What are the causes of sore throat?
- What are the signs and symptoms of a sore throat?
- Is a sore throat contagious?
- When should I see a doctor for a sore throat?
- How is the diagnosis of sore throat made?
- What are home remedies to soothe a sore throat?
- What OTC medications will soothe a sore throat?
- Are antibiotics necessary for a sore throat?
- How can I prevent a sore throat?
- Pictures of The Anatomy of a Sore Throat - Slideshow
- Pictures of Natural Cold & Flu Remedies - Slideshow
- Pictures of The Common Cold - Slideshow
What OTC medications will soothe a sore throat?
There are various over-the-counter medications that can help soothe a sore throat. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) are analgesics that can provide pain relief. These medications can also serve to reduce fever if your sore throat is caused by infection. Avoid aspirin in children and teenagers, as it has been associated with a serious illness called Reye's syndrome.
Throat lozenges and analgesic throat sprays can also be beneficial for some individuals with a sore throat. If your sore throat is caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), OTC medications such as antacids, H2 blockers, and proton pump inhibitors can help relieve symptoms. If you have allergies or postnasal drip that is causing your sore throat, OTC antihistamines and decongestants may provide symptom relief. If you have a cough that is causing your sore throat, an OTC cough syrup may help diminish the cough.
Zinc lozenges have been found to decrease the duration of symptoms in patients with colds.
Are antibiotics necessary for a sore throat?
The need for antibiotics depends on the underlying cause of the sore throat. If your sore throat is being caused by a bacterial infection, such as strep throat, then you do require a course of antibiotics to resolve the infection. You must complete the full course of antibiotics prescribed, even if you are feeling better after a few days.
However, because most cases of sore throat are caused by a viral infection, the use of antibiotics in these situations is not needed. Antibiotics will not have any effect on a viral infection, as it will need to run its course and your body's natural defenses will typically clear this type of infection.
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