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Sore Throat (cont.)

Sore Throat and Pregnancy

Pregnant women who develop a sore throat can still receive treatment for the condition. Viral illnesses only require supportive treatment, and home remedies and self-care steps (described above) are generally safe in pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about the right choice for pain medication if it is required. Some antibiotics are safe for pregnant women; if you develop a bacterial infection, your doctor can prescribe antibiotics that have been proven to be safe for both mother and baby. It is very important not to abstain from treatment for a bacterial infection; since if untreated, the infection may cause serious complications.

Sore Throat Follow-up

As with other illness, a doctor should be contacted doctor if a person becomes worse despite treatment. Sometimes, determining whether a condition became worse because of the natural course of the illness, or because of a side effect of the medication the patient is taking can be difficult. (For example, both the infection causing a sore throat and a reaction to medication can cause nausea.)

How to Prevent Sore Throat

Avoiding close contact with ill people can help a person from getting a throat infection. Cold viruses appear to be more readily transmitted than Streptococcal infections. Only some family members exposed to Streptococcus develop strep throat. Usually a person with strep throat becomes noninfectious within 24 hours after the first antibiotic dose. The incubation period (the time between exposure to strep germs and onset of illness) is usually 2-5 days. Children should stay home from school and day care during infectious periods.

Being vigilant about hand washing is the best way to prevent any kind of infection. Many viruses can be transmitted by contamination of common surfaces. It is important to teach children the importance of hand washing using soap and water and/or hand sanitizer. Avoid sharing of drinking and eating utensils and other personal items can also be an effective preventive measure.

Sore Throat Prognosis

Only in very rare cases are sore throats due to serious conditions. Although rare, complications of strep throat such as rheumatic fever, poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis, and epiglottitis can cause serious illness or death.

What Are Sore Throat Complications?

Rarely, bacterial infections of the throat can lead to complications including abscess formation and spread of the infection. Rheumatic fever (a condition that can cause damage to the heart, nerves, skin, and joints) and poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis (a form of kidney inflammation) are rare complications of untreated strep throat.

Medically reviewed by Avrom Simon, MD; Board Certified Preventative Medicine with Subspecialty in Occupational Medicine

REFERENCE: Pediatrics, Pharyngitis.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/20/2017

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