Sore Throat for 3 Days or More

If you have sore throat, it is usually an indication of getting a cold. When it is due to this reason, it resolves within a day or two and goes away. The other symptoms of cold like runny nose, congestion follow this symptom. But what should you do when you have sore throat for 3 days or more? What could be its causes? Read on to find out.

What Causes Your Sore Throat?

Usually sore throat is caused by an infection either by virus or bacteria. When it is caused by a virus, it is not required to be shown at a clinic; however, bacterial infection should be checked. This is because it can cause streptococci and is known as strep throat. However, the percentage of this is quite less, only 1 of every 10 adults who visit the clinic are diagnosed with strep throat. This usually causes a sore throat for 3 days or more.

How to Tell Whether Sore Throat Is Caused by Virus or Strep Throat?

Sore throat caused due to virus will have the following symptoms:

  • Runny nose along with itchy and red eyes
  • Cough, hoarse voice
  • Pain in the top or roof portion of mouth
  • Chest congestion
  • Cold symptoms like mild head and body ache along with fever

When you have sore throat for 3 days, it can also be caused by streptococcus bacteria, which can also cause tonsillitis. It will be persistent and severe and symptoms like runny nose, cough or itchy and red eyes won’t show. The symptoms can be seen including:

  • Fever of over 100.4°F or 38°C
  • Swollen glands in neck along with severe throat pain

When to See a Doctor

It is essential that you consult a doctor when you have sore throat along with the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Swollen tongue or swelling in neck
  • Drooling, because you are unable to swallow
  • Skin rash, stiff neck
  • Difficulty in opening the mouth
  • Any underlying condition or medication that you are taking which can impair the immune system
  • Fever over 100.4°F or 38°C

Treatment for Sore Throat

For sore throat caused by viral infction

If you have sore throat for 3 days or more, and it is viral, you should not take antibiotics. They will last for 4-5 days, during which time medication can be taken to deal with the pain.

Pain medication like Acetaminophen, NSAIDs can be taken to relieve pain. Warm salt water gargles can be done to deal with pain. Some sprays containing local anesthetic can be used for sore throat. Lozenges or cough drops also contain topical anesthetics which help in relieving dryness and gives pain relief. They give relief for longer duration as compared to sprays and gargling. Drinking warm or cold beverage is also helpful for some. Various alternative therapies are also recommended on websites, but they can have side effects.

For sore throat caused by streptococcus

Sore throat caused due to streptococcus usually gets resolved within 2-5 days; however, antibiotics should be taken if the test for throat culture comes positive. Usually the preferred treatment is penicillin or a derived antibiotic. It is supposed to be taken for 10 days, 2-4 times daily. To ensure that the infection is completely eliminated, entire course of medication should be taken. For those allergic to penicillin, other medicine is given. Check with the doctor if symptoms do not improve within 3-4 days of taking the medicine.

Home Remedies:

  1. Take rest: Try get as much sleep as possible, during the day as well. You should try to get almost around 11-13 hours of sleep when you have the symptoms of sore throat.
  2. Get plenty of fluids: Fluids help in thinning the secretions and the warm liquid helps to soothe the sore throat. You should target to drink around 2.2 to 3 l of water each day. Avoid having over 5 cups of coffee, since it is a diuretic. Drink fluids with electrolytes.
  3. Take shower twice a day: A warm, steamy shower will help in cleaning the body, make you feel fresh. The steam will help in clearing and soothing the throat.
  4. Include vitamin C: Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant which helps in protecting the body from free radicals. It might not have a direct impact on the sore throat, but it is helpful.
  5. Drink garlic tea: Garlic is a natural anti-biotic agent which will help in dealing with the sore throat. Boil water with garlic pieces, remove the pieces and then add a tea bag with some sweetener.

Sore Throat Prevention

You can prevent an infection from spreading by washing hands thoroughly and dry them with a clean towel. If there is no access to hand wash, you can use alcohol based hand rubs. Hand rubs are available in liquid form or as wipes and are convenient. Ensure that you wash your hands after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. If you are with a sick person, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. This will help in preventing the infection from spreading. Use tissues and discard them after using. Do not sneeze or cough on sleeves, as they can spread infection.

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