Sore throats are common complaints of college students. The soreness can range from a mere scratch to severe pain.

Symptoms

  • Soreness or pain in the throat, especially when you talk or swallow
  • Swollen neck glands
  • The back of the throat and/or tonsils look bright red or have white spots
  • Sores on the roof of the mouth
  • You may have other symptoms with the sore throat, too. These include: fatigue, fever, postnasal drip, bad breath, headache and earaches.

Causes

  • Postnasal drip
  • Dry air or allergies
  • Tobacco use
  • A bacterial or viral infection, such as strep throat, tonsillitis or mononucleosis

Prevention

  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has a sore throat
  • Wash hands regularly
  • Don't share drinking glasses or eating utensils
  • Replace your toothbrush after an illness or every two months

Self-care

  • Gargle every two to three hours with a solution of one teaspoon salt and one cup warm water
  • Drink extra fluids, at least eight glasses a day
  • Avoid eating spict foods, and try a liquid of soft diet
  • Suck on cough drops, hard candy or medicated lozenges
  • Take Ibuprofen or Tylenol for the pain and fever
  • Use a cool-mist humidifier in your room
  • Don't smoke and avoid seconhand smoke
  • Get plenty of rest

Treatment

If an infection is suspected, you may need a throat culture and/or blood work done. If Streptococcus or another type of bacteria is present, you will be prescribed an antibiotic. Be sure you take the entire antibiotic, even if you are feeling better, to avoid complications to the heart.