Sore throats are a symptom of many different conditions. If you have throat pain that lasts, you might have an infection. While throat infections are painful, most can be fixed with a medication or a simple medical procedure. In this article, we will discuss different common throat infections and how your doctor can help you deal with them.
Viral Throat Infections
A virus is a common cause of throat infections. A variety of viruses can cause these infections, but colds and the flu are the most common sources. While colds are different from the flu, both usually begin with similar symptoms. As a cold progresses, you will notice symptoms like a cough, runny nose, and possibly swollen glands. The flu typically lasts longer than a cold and usually involves a fever and muscle aches.
Another common virus that can cause a throat infection is mononucleosis. Also known as mono or the “kissing disease”, this condition is usually caused by the Epstein-Barr virus and is spread through saliva. Mono is often misdiagnosed as strep throat because sufferers usually have a very sore throat. Other symptoms include fever, swollen lymph nodes, and extreme fatigue.
Viral throat infections can often be treated with over-the-counter medications. Antibiotics will not treat these conditions. It’s important for your doctor to determine if you have a viral or bacterial infection so you can take the correct medicine.
Bacterial Throat Infections
Bacterial throat infections are especially important to see your doctor about. Not only do these infections require antibiotics to heal, symptoms usually get progressively worse until you begin antibiotics. There are a variety of bacterial throat infections, but the most common is strep throat.
Strep throat is caused by a strain of streptococcus bacteria. This infection is most commonly found in children and teens, but it can affect patients of all ages. Strep throat patients usually have a very sore throat with white patches appearing in the back of their mouths. Other symptoms can include swollen lymph nodes, fever, headaches, and chills. Your doctor can perform a simple test in their office to check for strep throat or other bacterial throat infections.
Tonsillitis, or inflammation of the tonsils, is another condition that often leads to throat pain. This can be caused by either a viral or a bacterial infection. Tonsillitis can affect anyone, but children are most likely to have this problem.
Tonsillitis typically causes a sore throat that is accompanied by red, inflamed tonsils and swollen glands. Tonsils may also have white or yellow patches. Other common symptoms of tonsillitis include fever, headache, and trouble swallowing. While infected tonsils are often removed, this surgery is only performed if other treatment methods are unsuccessful. If you think you have tonsillitis, see a professional. Your doctor will be able to treat the problem and prevent the tonsil issues from returning.
If you suspect you have a throat infection, help is available.
Contact Dr. Michael Burnett at 212-867-4813 to schedule an ENT appointment today.