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Clear Your Throat: Royal Oak’s Best Remedies for Sore Throats

Is your throat feeling a little funny? Is it painful to swallow? Do you have a dry, itchy, or scratchy throat? What about a cough, runny nose, or changes in your voice that make it sound breathy, raspy, or strained? 

Ugh, we hate to admit it, but you might have a sore throat. 

And with that, we have good news and bad news. 

The good news is that most sore throats (especially those that are caused by a virus) tend to improve on their own within one week, if that – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

The bad news is that not all sore throats are created equal. 

And there’s a big difference between a sore throat and strep throat. 

Where most sore throats can be treated at-home with over-the-counter medications, rest, and time, a strep throat usually requires antibiotics – which can be prescribed by your local Royal Oak ENT doctor

If your symptoms aren’t improving or are worsening, we can help. 

Here at The Rontal Clinic, we understand how frustrating and painful a sore throat can be – especially if it’s a bacterial infection – but our talented team of throat experts can help you find a treatment that works.

Viral vs. Bacterial: Understanding the Cause of Your Sore Throat

A sore throat can be caused by a wide range of factors, including allergies, dry air, irritation caused by voice overuse, pollution, excessive dust or chemicals in the air, smoking, or even second-hand smoke. 

But most sore throats are either caused by bacteria or a virus. 

  • Viral sore throats, like those caused by the common cold or seasonal flu, develop over a few days, go away on their own, and are often accompanied by a cough, runny nose, or hoarse voice

Viral sore throats usually don’t require any medical help, but bacterial sore throats are different. 

  • Bacterial sore throats, like those caused by the bacteria Group A Streptococcus (AKA strep throat), tend to develop rather quickly and are often accompanied by a variety of symptoms. 

For example, most bacterial sore throats result in a fever over 100, red and swollen tonsils, swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck, red spots on the roof of the mouth, or white patches of pus on the tonsils. 

Since not all sore throats are created equal – and they aren’t treated the same, either – nothing is more crucial to your recovery than understanding the cause and identifying the symptoms of your sore throat. 

Home Field Advantage: At-Home Remedies for a Sore Throat

Alright, so you’ve determined the cause of your sore throat, but now what?

Well, as a general rule of thumb – viral sore throats (common cold and seasonal flu) can almost always be treated at home without a doctor, while bacterial sore throats will require antibiotics from a doctor. 

But before we talk about antibiotics, let’s first go over some at-home remedies. 

And we’ll start with over-the-counter medications that can relieve symptoms: 

  • Pain relievers such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), and Naproxen (Aleve) – can help relieve pain and redness by lowering inflammation and swelling in the throat.
  • Oral Demulcents – such as throat lozenges, cough drops, or throat sprays – contain ingredients like benzocaine, menthol, and phenol to numb the throat and provide relief. 
  • Antihistamines – such as Diphenhydramine (Benadryl), Loratadine (Claritin), Cetirizine (Zyrtec), Fexofenadine (Allegra), and Levocetirizine (Xyzal) – are reserved for allergy-related sore throats.

In addition to over-the-counter medication, at-home therapy should include plenty of rest, plenty of water and other healthy fluids, gargling saltwater, avoiding irritants, humidifying the air, and waiting the virus out. 

Medical Help: When Does a Sore Throat Warrant a Doctor Visit? 

A viral sore throat will only require medical assistance if the symptoms persist for longer than a week and don’t seem to be improving with at-home treatment. At that point, a doctor can find a treatment that works.

But a bacterial sore throat (strep throat) is different... 

Because they usually require medical help immediately. 

While a lot of bacterial infections go away on their own, strep throat is one your local Royal Oak, Michigan (MI) ENT doctor wants to treat with antibiotics as soon as possible – and there are three primary reasons why: 

  1. To provide immediate relief from symptoms.
  2. To prevent the spread of infection.
  3. To avoid complications that might occur.

The most common type of antibiotic used for strep throat is penicillin, which is usually taken for 10 days before alternatives are considered – but those who are allergic can go with doxycycline or clindamycin. 

In addition to antibiotics, bacterial sore throats are often combined with at-home therapies – such as rest, hydration, gargling saltwater, avoiding irritants, humidifying the air, eating healthy, and taking it easy. 

The Rontal Clinic: When At-Home Remedies Aren’t Enough

Have you been suffering from a sore throat for longer than a week? Are your symptoms only getting worse? Are at-home treatments not getting the job done? Do you think you might have strep throat? 

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the questions above, then you’ve come to the right place. 

Welcome to The Rontal Clinic – where Royal Oak residents can swallow freely again. 

Every year, millions of us fall victim to a viral or bacterial sore throat. And while most of us will see these symptoms improve in a short period of time, some of us won’t get that relief – at least not right away. 

But don’t worry – that’s what we’re here for. 

Our talented team of ENT doctors will help you get to the bottom of your sore throat. Once we understand what’s causing it, we can put together a treatment plan customized to your exact wants and needs.

Feel free to contact us today by calling or texting us at (248) 737-4030 to schedule an appointment for a consultation!