Thursday, November 19, 2015

The use of throat lozenges in the treatment of sore throat and some additional preventive measures.

use of lozenges in treating sore throat

A throat lozenge is a small, typically medicated tablet intended to be dissolved slowly in the mouth to temporarily stop coughs and lubricate and soothe irritated tissues of the throat (usually due to a sore throat), possibly from the common cold or influenza. Unfortunately about three days ago, i was infected with sore throat as a result of the dry air (Harmmatan) season that is currently been experienced in some parts of Nigeria, and a throat lozenge with some other medications really comes in handy. Before we proceed let us have an eye opener of what "sore throat" is all about, it's causative organisms etc. Then we will summarize with some additional preventive measures to curb this menace.

What is sore throat?
Sore throats can be painful and annoying. Fortunately, most sore throats are caused by a minor illness and go away without medical treatment. Infections from viruses or bacteria are the main cause of sore throats and can make it difficult to talk and breathe. Allergies and sinus infections can also contribute to a sore throat. If you have a sore throat that lasts for more than five to seven days, you should see your doctor. While increasing your liquid intake, gargling with warm salt water, or taking over-the-counter pain relievers may help, if appropriate, your doctor may write you a prescription for an antibiotic.

Causes and symptoms                                                  
Infections by contagious viruses or bacteria are the source of the majority of sore throats.

Viruses: Sore throats often accompany viral infections, including the flu, colds, measles, chicken pox, whooping cough, and croup. One viral infection, infectious mononucleosis, or  mono, takes much longer than a week to be cured. This virus lodges in the lymph system, causing massive enlargement of the tonsils, with white patches on their surface. Other symptoms include swollen glands in the neck, armpits, and groin; fever, chills, and headache. If you are suffering from mono, you will likely experience a severe sore throat that may last for one to four weeks and, sometimes, serious breathing difficulties. Mono causes extreme fatigue that can last six weeks or more, and can also affect the liver, leading to jaundice-yellow skin and eyes.
Bacteria: Strep throat is an infection caused by a particular strain of streptococcus bacteria. This infection can also damage the heart valves (rheumatic fever) and kidneys (nephritis), cause scarlet fever, tonsillitis, pneumonia, sinusitis, and ear infections. Symptoms of strep throat often include fever (greater than 101°F), white draining patches on the throat, and swollen or tender lymph glands in the neck. Children may have a headache and stomach pain. Tonsillitis is an infection of the lumpy-appearing lymphatic tissues on each side of the back of the throat.

Infections in the nose and sinuses also can cause sore throats, because mucus from the nose drains down into the throat and carries the infection with it. The most dangerous throat infection is epiglottitis, which infects a portion of the larynx (voice box) and causes swelling that closes the airway. Epiglottitis is an emergency condition that requires prompt medical attention. Suspect it when swallowing is extremely painful (causing drooling), when speech is muffled, and when breathing becomes difficult. Epiglottitis may not be obvious just by looking in the mouth. A strep test may overlook this infection.

Allergies to pollens and molds such as cat and dog dander and house dust are common causes of sore throats. Irritation caused by dry heat (the condition that caused mine), a chronic stuffy nose, pollutants and chemicals, and straining your voice can also irritate your throat. Reflux, or a regurgitation of stomach acids up into the back of the throat, can cause you to wake up with a sore throat. Tumors of the throat, tongue, and larynx (voice box) can cause a sore throat with pain radiating to the ear and/or difficulty swallowing. Other important symptoms can include hoarseness, noisy breathing, a lump in the neck, unexplained weight loss, and/or spitting up blood in the saliva or phlegm. HIV infection can sometimes cause a chronic sore throat, due not to HIV itself but to a secondary infection that can be extremely serious.

The best time to see a doctor?
Whenever a sore throat is severe, persists longer than the usual five-to-seven day duration of a cold or flu, and is not associated with an avoidable allergy or irritation, you should seek medical attention. The following signs and symptoms should alert you to see your physician:

• Severe and prolonged sore throat
• Difficulty breathing
• Difficulty swallowing
• Difficulty opening the mouth
• Joint pain
• Earache
• Rash
• Fever (over 101°)
• Blood in saliva or phlegm
• Frequently recurring sore throat
• Lump in neck
• Hoarseness lasting over two weeks

How to prevent it
Many underlying causes of sore throats are infectious, and there are certain steps that can help you prevent future infection.

·         Repeatedly washing your hands throughout the day kills germs and bacteria that can cause viral and bacterial infections.
·         Do not share drinking glasses or utensils with others.
·         Use hand sanitizers whenever soap and water are not available.
·         Limit contact with commonly touched surfaces.
·         Reduce exposure to allergens, such as pollen, dust, and mold.
·         Avoid cigarette smoke.
·         Keep a humidifier in your house to eliminate dryness



A Medical Microbiologist, Public health worker, blogger and artcle writer, and offcourse a fan of Manchester United football club