Throat infection symptoms occur as a result from infection with fungi, virus or bacteria. It is one of the most common medical problems resulting to millions of doctor visits all around the world. It occurs any time of the year but the infection is more frequent during cold season especially winter.
It affects all age groups but children and elderly are more susceptible to the condition. Throat infections are highly contagious. Thus, you may easily transfer the infection through other people by sharing your eating utensils, coughing and sneezing and through direct contact like kissing.
Viral Throat Infection
One of the most common causes of throat infection symptoms is infection with the virus. There are several strains causing the condition but the most common are the viruses causing colds, flu and mononucleosis. The condition is often called as the sore throat. Viral infections are self-limiting and thus, there are no direct treatments available to kill the organisms.
Instead, your doctor will only prescribe drugs to manage the throat infection symptoms. Antibiotics are not helpful in this case. Do not take the drugs at this point since it will only increase the chances of developing resistant strains. Instead, you just have to stay at home and take a rest to help your body recuperate.
Bacterial Throat Infection
Another common type of infection that leads to the throat infection symptoms is caused by bacteria. Again, several types of bacteria have been reported to cause the illness but the most common is infection with Group A streptococcus. As such, the condition is also called as the strep throat. Streptococci are isolated using a throat swab and they can easily be identified in the laboratory. Your doctor will request the test if the throat infection symptoms do not improve after a week.
Yeast Throat Infection
A less common cause of throat infection symptoms is the yeast. It is also called as oral thrush. The culprit is the same as the fungi causing infection in the genitals. Patients suffering from the fungal infection will show a white cottage cheese-like discharge in the mouth which may bleed if they are scraped. The lesions can be very painful especially during swallowing.
This can cause a decrease in the appetite. Yeast throat infection symptoms usually happen among highly vulnerable patients like people with low immune status, elderly individuals and those with pre-existing medical problems such as diabetes and HIV infection.
Throat Infection Symptoms
Since there are three possible causes of throat infection symptoms, your doctor will have to distinguish the culprit through the observation of symptoms. Generally, the three will share some common signs like discomfort in the throat, difficulty in swallowing, cough and inflammation of the tonsils. In babies, the condition may also lead to low grade fever and irritability. Other possible symptoms of throat infection are as follows:
- Change in the quality of voice
- Sinus pain
- Dryness of the throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Body pain and tiredness
- White discharge in the mouth especially the tongue and gums
- Oral lesions
The treatment for the throat infection symptoms depend on the cause of the problem. Here are the different options for your condition.
The most common way to treat the throat infection symptoms is to take antibiotics or antifungal drugs. These are only applicable for bacterial or fungal infections and not for viral infection. When taking the drugs, you have to follow the correct dosage and duration. Listen attentively to the instructions of your medical provider.
You must finish the whole course of treatment even when the throat infection symptoms disappear on the early phase of treatment. As for the viral infection, you must never take these potent drugs. Antibiotics are meant to kill bacteria and antifungal for fungi. They are not meant to kill viruses.
If you are taking antifungal or antibiotics, the throat infection symptoms will go away within a week. But for viral infection where there are no direct drugs to kill the organism, supportive therapies are crucial. You can take pain relievers in the form of acetaminophen or ibuprofen or take lozenges to reduce your discomfort. These medications are available over-the-counter. You can ask your local pharmacy about them.
Home remedies provide support to the usual medications provided by your health care provider. While you are recuperating, it is advisable to take a rest. Take a leave from work or school to avoid spreading the organism to others and to help your body in the process.
You should also eat nutritious foods to boost your immune status. There are herbal medications available if you do not want to take the chemically produced drugs. For nasal congestion and body pain, taking a warm bath can help sooth your aching muscles.
It is very seldom that the throat infection symptoms lead to serious complications. The most common complications of untreated infection are pharyngitis, lower respiratory tract infection and rheumatic heart problem.
Throat infection are very common but there are ways on how you can protect yourself from them. Here are the effective ways on how you can protect yourself and your family against the illness.
- Have a balanced diet.
- Exercise regularly
- Take vitamin supplements especially vitamin C to boost your immunity
- Wash hands more frequently. Use water and soap or hand sanitizer if water is not available.
- Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough.
- Stay away from people with throat infection symptoms
Knowing the throat infection is highly beneficial so that you can get your condition treated if you suspect the problem. If you suffer any of the signs above, you should see your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.