Sore Throat (Pharyngitis) (cont.)

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How can I prevent a sore throat?

Certain causes of sore throat are often preventable. As already mentioned, infection is the most common cause of sore throat. Therefore, whether the sore throat is caused by a viral infection or strep throat, certain measures can be taken to prevent acquiring and transmitting the infection.

  • Individuals should try to avoid close contact with people who are already ill with a viral upper respiratory tract infection or with strep throat (and other bacterial infections).
  • Good personal hygiene habits, such as frequent and thorough handwashing, will also help decrease transmission.
  • If someone is ill, avoid sharing personal objects (such as dishes, cups or utensils), and encourage them to cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing and to frequently wash their own hands.
  • Avoid touching potentially infected surfaces (computers, doorknobs, or phones) and avoid direct contact with handkerchiefs, napkins, Kleenex or towels being used by an ill contact.
  • Individuals who are taking antibiotics for a bacterial infection should be encouraged to finish their course of antibiotics to completely eradicate the infection and decrease disease transmission.

Certain measures can be taken to help prevent other less common causes of sore throat.

  • As already mentioned, OTC medications can help prevent sore throat in certain cases of GERD, allergies, postnasal drip, and cough.
  • Avoid cigarette smoke, pollutants and noxious airborne chemicals can prevent sore throat.
  • Appropriate safety measures and protective sports gear can help avoid traumatic injury to the neck and throat.
  • Chewing food carefully in order to prevent injury to the throat from a foreign body (from a fish bone, for example), and avoidance of excessive or prolonged yelling can help prevent throat irritation as a cause of sore throat.


American Academy of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery. Sore Throats. Is It Strep Throat?

Cochrane Library Review. Zinc for the common cold (Review).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/18/2013

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