Sore throat is a highly unpleasant symptom that usually occurs as a consequence of many illnesses of the respiratory tract although it can be associated with other conditions too. It is the leading symptom of pharyngitis, inflammation of the throat. Patients describe the problem as pain, scratchiness or irritation of the throat. The symptom usually intensifies while swallowing. Sore throat usually withdraws spontaneously or with proper treatment and generally does not last long. But in some cases sore throat may linger for longer periods of time or even reoccur. In such cases there is a need for identification of the underlying cause and aggressive treatment that includes both medications and some home remedies.
What Are Causes of Persistent Sore Throat?
In majority of people persistent sore throat is associated with chronic infection. There are numerous infections caused by different infective agents (bacteria, viruses and fungi) responsible for the symptom. Persistent sore throat, for example, occurs in common cold, flu, candidiasis of the throat etc. Pain, itchiness and irritation linger for longer periods of time and are responsible for significant discomfort.
Another potential cause of persistent sore throat is allergy. In fact the symptom may be an initial characteristic of an allergy and occur as an introduction to the disease. People may develop an allergic reaction to many different allergens. Each time they are exposed to a particular allergen they develop an allergic reaction and this means that, for as long as they are exposed to a specific allergen, the symptom (sore throat) will continue.
And finally, persistent sore throat may also develop as a consequence of dry air or exposure to certain irritants or environmental pollutants as well as regurgitation of the stomach acid (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
People with weak immune system are more susceptible to infections. Therefore, they suffer from persistent sore throat more often than healthy individuals. Furthermore, the problem affects more people with poor diet and those exposed to stress on regular bases.
How To Deal with Persistent Sore Throat?
Patients with persistent sore throat require proper examination (target ear, nose and throat examination). It may be necessary to perform several more tests and exams in order to identify the exact cause of the problem. Once the underlying cause is found the doctor recommends the most suitable treatment. What medications are going to be prescribed depends on the underlying cause. For example, bacterial infections require antibiotics while allergy is treated with elimination of allergen and with antihistamines. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, on the other hand, requires drugs that reduce production of stomach acid or prevent its regurgitation into the esophagus.