Sore throat: Viral, bacterial infection most common during seasonal changes

Kathmandu

The pain in one’s throat can make it difficult to swallow. Not only difficulty in swallowing, one might feel a kind of itching sensation in the throat too. It feels like something is stuck in your throat and repeatedly one starts coughing and doing one’s best to ease the itching. But one has to be conscious as these experiences are not because something is stuck in your throat but it is due to sore throat. “The pain can be experienced more in the winter months because of the cold,” informed Dr Dhiraj Giri, ENT Head and Neck Surgeon at the Armed Police Force Hospital, Balambu and Himal Hospital, Gyaneshwor.

Viral and bacterial infection

The most common cause of a sore throat is a viral infection such as a cold or the flu. Whenever it rains because of the cold, the virus becomes active. And because of the prominence of the virus, 90 per cent of the cause of sore throat is due to this infection. “In addition, when there is any viral disease is present in anyone, then sore throat could be common in these people,” added Dr Giri. Itchy nose, watery discharge from the nose, irritation in the throat can be experienced when one suffers from viral infection. “The infection would hit more people during seasonal changes as there would be more prominence of the virus during the time,” informed the doctor.

Sore throat could be because of bacterial infection as well. A streptococcus bacterium causes sore throat. When one suffers from the bacterium, then it could lead to tonsillitis, pharyngitis and sore throat.

Whooping cough and Diptheria are also some of the causes of sore throat.

Apart from viral and bacterial infections, sore throat could be genetic as well. Children of sore throat patients can suffer from the pain as the disease is genetic. Pollen grains, pollution and dust can also lead to pain in the throat. People suffering from gastritis are prone to the disease. “Acid released from the body will have an impact resulting in chronic sore throat. Sore throat due to allergies and gastritis are increasing everyday because of eating habits of people and the increasing pollution,” informed Dr Giri.

Symptoms

Tenderness in the throat, pain when swallowing, feeling of something stuck in your throat, difficulty in swallowing saliva (spit), irritation and itchy feeling in the throat are some of the symptoms of sore throat. Pain or an itchy sensation, burning in the throat, dry throat, lethargic feeling, swollen glands in the neck or jaw are some of the symptoms. Several nodules can be seen in throat which makes it difficult to swallow. “As it can be seen in any kind of viral infection, people living with HIV are also prone to it. Sore throat also can result in fever, runny nose, sneezing, body aches, headache, cough and loss of interest in work performances.”

Emergencies  

Children from three-four months to five years of age are more prone to the infection. “If there are white patches or pus on their tonsils, swelling of tonsils and a sudden difficulty in breathing and eating, dehydration, and high grade fever in them, then one must understand that it is an emergency situation,” informed the doctor. This happens due to viral infection and due to lower immunity in them. “The children must be immediately taken to the nearby hospitals during such a situation as this can lead to infection in the air pipe and food pipe,” informed the doctor.

Sore throat also can lead to rheumatic heart disease in children below 18-19 years of age. It also leads to infection in kidneys and skin diseases. “This is why parents must be conscious about sore throat in their children,” informed Dr Giri.

Along with children, sore throat is common in immune compromised patients like diabetic, cancer, elderly, et cetera. If the disease is left untreated, then the infection can extend to the food pipe, air pipe and lungs. Puss will be collected in the tonsils and this infection can increase to the lungs, swelling the air and food pipe.

Condition in Nepal

Sore throat is common in Nepalis. As the virus gets active during the winter and rainy seasons, one must be conscious during such seasonal changes. “People suffer from common cold and getting a sore throat is quite common here. People drinking cold food items and liquids, smokers and alcoholics are also prone to the infection. This is why people must maintain their eating habits. Sore throat due to pollution is also high in the country and this is why people must protect themselves from pollution,” suggested the doctor.

As the infection is transmittable, one must protect oneself by wearing masks, not speaking much, and not going in crowd.