Bacterial vs. Viral Throat Infections

Bacterial vs. Viral Throat Infections

Throat infections occur quite a bit and they do occur commonly. When we look at someone with a throat infection, we try to find out if there some underlying etiology to be concerned about; for instance, strep is a bacteria which can cause a throat infection. If it’s a virus as a cause, physicians don’t get nearly quite concerned because we know that with gargling and with watching the temperature you can make a big difference. It’s when people actually are in a situation where they have serious throat infections with bacterial origins that can be a concern.

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Treating Pharyngitis (A Sore Throat)

Treating Pharyngitis (A Sore Throat)

Pharyngitis is often treated with antibiotics and, in those cases, it should because we’re dealing with strep or other bacteria that can cause long-term problems. But sometimes we have a viral cause of pharyngitis and in those cases, we don’t necessarily need to have an antibiotic; we actually need to counsel the patient. In other words, when you go see the doctor, you may not always get an antibiotic for your sore throat, or your child may not. We know that’s difficult to understand because we used to give it reflexively, but now we understand that we don’t want to overuse those antibiotics and in some cases, we don’t have to.

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Sore Throats and Gargling

Sore Throats and Gargling

Does gargling work with sore throat? Does gargling work with pharyngitis? Absolutely. If you gargle with salt water, it can make a big difference. The thing about gargling is that in and of itself, it won’t cure a bacterial infection; but if you have a viral infection or you’re talking about a sinus issue, gargling can make a big difference. Gargling can be effective and it’s important that you look at that as a potential simple weapon that can be used in the battle against these things, but, again, it’s not the only weapon.

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