Dr. Cedric Strong, MD MBA
INTERNAL MEDICINE

Dr. Strong was always inspired by his father, a doctor who also sought to help and serve his community.
After completing his residency at Tufts University in Massachusetts, Dr. Strong worked at hospitals in Florida and New Hampshire before moving to Hawai’i in 2007. (He still wonders how he made it through all those harsh New England winters.)

Dr. Strong experienced the unique pressures of Hawaiian healthcare right away. He traveled between the islands for several years treating patients before putting down roots in Honolulu. Dr. Strong loves his work in Hawaii, and is inspired everyday by the place and people to make a positive difference both in his own life and in the community.

<< URGENT CARE

Sore Throat

This article will discuss sore throat and if one needs a prescription for sore throat.

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What is a sore throat?

Sore throat or pharyngitis is a common infection of the throat. It has the following symptoms. For instance:

  • Pain in the throat
  • Hoarse voice
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Cough
  • Fever

The symptoms usually subside within a week, with the cough or sore throat taking slightly longer to heal. You may also experience sore throat in case of tonsillitis as well. But the symptoms will be more severe. In this case, you must consult a doctor for further treatment. However, in some cases, you may get a delayed prescription for a sore throat.

Treatment

Usually, a sore throat will not require any treatment. Importantly, ensure that you keep yourself hydrated, even if it is painful to swallow. Also, fluids will help with the fever and headaches too. Take painkillers at regular intervals for relief from headaches as well as fever. Gargles and lozenges can help soothe a sore throat. Furthermore, even sucking on a popsicle can help as well.

Do I need to get any tests done?

Generally, sore throat does not require any tests to be done and it gets better by itself. However, if the symptoms do not get better then a throat swab may be needed. This is to determine which germ is causing the problem. Furthermore, blood tests are usually only required if the doctor suspects glandular fever.

Do I need antibiotic medicine?

Since most cases of sore throat are due to viruses, antibiotics are not needed. Antibiotics help kill bacteria but have no impact on viruses. Further, they also have some side effects as well. Therefore, they are avoided as a result. See the leaflet called Why wasn’t I prescribed antibiotics? for more detail.

Additionally, some points that the doctor will consider while deciding whether to prescribe antibiotics or not are as follows. For example:

  • Presence of pus on the tonsils.
  • Absence of cough.
  • High temperature.
  • Tender lymph glands in the neck.

If three or more of the above symptoms are present, you may be given a “delayed prescription for sore throat”. This means that you should wait for 2-3 days and if the symptoms do not clear up, then you should start the antibiotics. Further, people with a history of heart valve issues or who have had rheumatic fever may be prescribed antibiotics for sore throats as well.

Possible complications

For instance:

  • Ear Infections
  • Sinusitis
  • Chest Infections
  • Glandular fever
  • Peritonsillar abscess. This is a collection of pus next to one tonsil. Therefore, making the tonsil appear swollen and swallowing painful as a result. This needs antibiotics. It may also sometimes require surgery to drain the abscess as well.

Other possible complications

An allergy such as hay fever can also cause a sore throat as well. In rare cases, a sore throat can be the first symptom of throat cancer.

See a doctor if symptoms of a sore throat are severe, unusual, or do not ease within 2-3 days. Also, if you have any of the following symptoms, please visit the emergency room.

  • Difficulty in breathing, swallowing saliva or opening the mouth
  • Persistently high fever

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