In most cases, such complaints are the result of a viral infection that causes inflammation of the upper respiratory tract and does not require specific treatment. So far, there are no tools that can successfully cope with viruses that cause the common cold (except for the flu virus). Our body itself perfectly copes with this task, producing specific protein antibodies in the process of the disease, which effectively destroy viruses.
Sore throat is one of the most common manifestations of the common cold. This symptom has a wide range of sensations – from a slight perspiration to severe discomfort that makes swallowing difficult.
For this reason, you do not need to rush to the doctor in case of a mild illness. The specialist will not be able to affect your recovery – the body will do everything by defeating the common cold within 3-10 days (sometimes individual symptoms can occur up to two weeks).
As for the numerous immunomodulators and immunostimulants on the market, they have not proved their effectiveness, which means they are not able to speed up recovery, so all treatment for colds comes down to eliminating the symptoms of the disease to ease the course of the disease – for example, suppressing sore throat.
How to speed up recovery
The general rule for any cold is to drink enough fluids. This reduces intoxication and accelerates the elimination of destroyed viruses. To relieve a sore throat, drink both warm and cool drinks more often. For example, the use of cold juice or thawed ice cream has an analgesic effect by reducing swelling and inflammation of the oropharynx (resorption of a piece of ice will have a similar effect).
But the use of lozenges with antiseptics or antibacterial drugs is rather unnecessary – the effect of such drugs is only superficial and is not able to accelerate the healing process, resorption of lozenges can soften the throat only due to the large secretion of saliva.
With severe discomfort – when your working capacity is significantly reduced against the background of the disease – it is worth using drugs with anesthetic and anti-inflammatory effect, such as acetaminophen (paracetamol, panadol), ibuprofen (nurofen) or aspirin (the latter can be taken from the age of 18).
It is also important to maintain sufficient humidity in the room (at least 50%), for example, by washing the air – a device that can clean and moisten the air mass, ensuring its constant circulation – or by putting a wet towel on the battery, although in this case you can only humidify the air, but not clean it.
When is the time to see a doctor
- With a combination of the following symptoms: severe sore throat, fever (above 38.2), an increase in lymph nodes in the absence of cough and runny nose. In this case, the risk of bacterial (streptococcal) damage to the oropharynx is high, so the doctor must decide on the appointment of antibiotics.
- With moderate sore throat with rains on the tonsils, severe nasal congestion, fever and swollen lymph nodes. It is required to exclude infectious mononucleosis. In this situation, antibiotics are often mistakenly prescribed, and the symptoms of the disease should only be alleviated.
- With severe one-sided sore throat (when it is difficult for you to swallow and it is impossible to open your mouth completely), accompanied by weakness and fever. It is important to exclude paratonsillitis, as well as its transition to a paratonsillar abscess, which may require the appointment of antibiotics or even surgical intervention.
- When blood appears in saliva or severe shortness of breath. Any inflammatory process can lead to hemoptysis, for example, due to increased fragility of blood vessels or dry pharynx. If blood in the saliva or shortness of breath began to appear with angina or pharyngitis, a doctor’s examination is mandatory, as this can be a signal of a complication of the disease or another, more serious disease.
Now there is a tendency to buy advertised drugs for sore throat without going to the doctor. As a result of improper treatment, strains of bacteria and microorganisms that are resistant to these agents are formed. Such self-medication often leads to a combined infection (viral and bacterial), and the clinical picture becomes unclear, which complicates the diagnosis. In such a situation, the doctor is forced to prescribe a more powerful drug with a large list of side effects.
At the same time, the effectiveness of therapy itself is reduced. In addition, with the appearance of a sore throat, the fact that it can not signal a cold at all, but, for example, an allergic reaction, inflammation of the paranasal sinuses, thyroid disease and other health problems, cannot be completely ruled out.
We will not give less advice to eat ice cream: if you do not have chronic diseases of the nasopharynx, eat on health. Contrary to popular belief, a cold is not provoked by being in the cold, but the risk of getting infected in crowded places is really high. And do not forget: the virus is transmitted not only directly, by airborne droplets, but also when it enters the oral mucosa through unwashed hands.
Moreover, he retains his “ability to infect” on average about two hours (in some cases, up to several days). Therefore, regular hand washing (especially during the cold season) and airing of rooms is a sure way to reduce the risk of infection.
If someone in your family is sick, they should use individual dishes, a towel, and wear and regularly change a medical mask (important: the mask is worn by a sick person, not a healthy person). Moreover, even the usual covering of the mouth with your hand when coughing and talking reduces the risk of infection of others by several times. Influenza is the most dangerous catarrhal disease, so vaccination is the most effective way to prevent serious complications.
Where does short-term pain come from?
Surely this happened to you: for several days in a row you wake up with a sore throat, and after breakfast there is no trace of it. Explaining a short-term sore throat only with an infection is wrong. Therefore, before starting the fight against non-existent bacteria, make sure that your body really needs it.
Repeated sore throat may be the result of the following processes:
- regular inhalation of air through the mouth with problems in the nasopharynx. For example, with a curvature of the nasal septum, allergic rhinitis, hypertrophy of the turbinates and adenoids, when breathing through the nose is simply impossible. In this case, you breathe through your mouth all the time, breathing in moist air, which causes irritation of the posterior pharyngeal wall and, as a result, chronic pharyngitis;
- frequent inhalation of contaminated air containing dust or chemicals. This is a common problem of residents of large cities and employees of industrial enterprises;
- smoking tobacco (due to the constant exposure to smoke with tar and chemical components of cigarettes). By the way, regular smoking of hookah can also cause such irritation;
- frequent use of strong tea (especially green), products with a lot of spices and cold drinks;
- alcohol abuse. Do not forget that alcohol is an organic solvent, which means that it can have a rather strong effect on the tissues of the oropharynx;
- intensive speech load (usually among singers, speakers, actors, lecturers and teachers);
- irritation of the posterior pharyngeal wall with “pairs” of gastric juice in gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
With repeated pain in the oropharynx, you should quit smoking or at least limit smoking, refrain from drinking alcohol, cold drinks, strong tea, food with a lot of spices and consult a doctor – in these cases it is impossible to make a diagnosis without examining a specialist and choosing the right treatment method.