One of the most common health complaints this time of year is a sore throat. Fortunately, sore throats seldom develop into a major health problem, but they sure can hurt!
The majority result from an uncomplicated viral infection, such as a common cold, and usually clear up in a few days. Sometimes you can get a sore throat from sleeping in a cold room with your mouth open. Or, it can result from night-time sinus drainage because of allergies, as the nasal secretions drain into your throat from the back of your nose. You can get relief from this type of soreness by gargling with salt water or a commercial gargle that contains an anesthetic. A saltwater gargle can be made by adding one-half teaspoonful of salt to an 8-ounce glass of warm water.
Sometimes you can prevent a night-time sore throat by taking an antihistamine before you go to bed.
However, there is another type of sore throat that is much more serious. This sore throat is caused by a bacteria called “beta-hemolytic streptococcus.” An infection caused by this bacteria can lead to problems such as rheumatic fever, heart damage and kidney disorders. Sore throats caused by this bacteria are know as “strep” throats and the only way to know whether you have this infection is to have an examination and throat culture from your doctor.
In fact, you should always seek medical attention if your sore throat is associated with fever, swollen neck glands or if your sore throat hangs on for more than a few days. If you have “strep” throat, your doctor will probably prescribe a type of penicillin for you. It is important that you take all of your prescription, usually for ten days, even if your sore throat goes away.
A “strep” throat is serious and you must clear all the infection from your body. If you have any questions about a sore throat, ask your family pharmacist. He will give you good advice on how to get rid of it.