Sore throat- Unraveling The Reasons Behind Your Agony

Sore throat is the last thing in the world that anyone would like to have. The itch, burning sensation, tenderness and the discomfort it causes is enough to ruin your spirits. Sore throat leaves you feeling debilitated all day long. It is one of the prime reasons for frequent trips to doctor’s clinic and sick leaves from work. Sore throat is a symptom of a variety of medical conditions. It is necessary to probe into the causes and risk factors that increase your chances of getting a sore throat. Let us now discuss the reasons why you may get a sore throat.

1. Viral infection

Viral infection is the primary and most common reason why you get a sore throat. Most of the time viral sore throat is accompanied with flu-like symptoms.
  • Common cold caused due to infection from Coronavirus or Rhinovirus gives you a runny and stuffed nose and a painful throat.
  • Infection caused by Adenovirus and Parainfluenza virus is very common. It results into inflammation of pharynx, larynx and tonsils.
  • Herpes simplex caused by herpes simplex virus is a condition wherein the patient has blisters and sores in the nasal mucosa, mouth and throat.
  • Apart from these, there is Epstein-Barr virus that causes glandular fever or mononucleosis. Mono is characterized by swollen lymph nodes, swollen tonsils and a nasty sore throat. A person suffering from mono experiences difficulty in breathing and swallowing sputum or food.

2. Bacterial infection
  • Out throat is susceptible to a number of bacterial infections. Streptococcal pharyngitis or strep throat is a medical condition that is caused by Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. It is characterized by sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, nausea, and high fever and chills. This is the most common bacterial infection that results into a sore throat. Close contact with the patient must be avoided since the infection is highly contagious.
  • The chances of getting infected by Corynebacterium diphtheriae are very thin. However, in the eastern parts of Europe an increasing number of people are falling prey to this deadly bacterium every year. It causes infection of the upper respiratory tract which is known as Diphtheria. The patient exhibits symptoms like fever, chills, cough, lesions on skin, and swollen neck. The swelling in the neck is acute and very painful. There is difficulty in breathing, speaking and swallowing.
  • Sore throat may be caused because of complications arising out of incomplete treatment of acute tonsillitis. Complications like development of PTS, i.e., Peritonsillar Abscess may crop up. PTA consists of production and accumulation of pus around the tonsils. It causes severe one-sided pain in the ear and throat due to which the patient cannot breathe, swallow or speak properly.
  • Uvulitis refers to the inflammation of the uvula and is generally prevalent among children. Uvulitis may occur due to bacterial infection or trauma. Heamophilus influenzae type B, Streptococcus pyogenes, or Fusobacterium nucleatum could be the culprits behind the swollen and painful uvula in your child.
  • Sore throat caused due to sexually transmitted diseases like Chlamydia may be extremely rare but not non-existent. When the bacteria Chlamydia thracomatis successfully breeds in the hostile environment of the throat, it can cause inflammation of the pharynx.

3.Fungal infections
  • Oral candidiasis or oral thrush commonly caused by Candida albicans is a very superficial and localized yeast infection of the mucous membranes in the mouth. It is normally seen in babies. It may also infect adults and cause infection in the mouth as well as throat. The infection seen in adults is named as ‘Candidosis’. It may also attack the respiratory tract causing infection in the bronchi. It is called as ‘broncho-candidiasis’. All these types of infections cause irritation of the throat.

4. The non-infectious causes
Sore throat may be a result of pharyngitis caused by mechanical or chemical reasons, as explained below.

4.1. Humidity level
The preferred level of humidity in the atmosphere is 35% to 50%. Inappropriate level of humidity in the atmosphere can trigger illnesses of the respiratory tract. Low humidity sucks out the moisture from the tissues of nose, mouth and throat. This initiates irritation and itching in the throat.
High humidity aggravates the symptoms of asthma and sinusitis, pharyngitis being one of symptom.

4.2. Exposure to irritants
Exposure to irritants like pollution, cigarette smoke, dust and pollen can trigger respiratory ailments.

4.3. Thermal irritants
Swallowing food or liquid that is very hot or very cold can damage the tissues in your throat. It produces a burning sensation in your throat.

4.4. Heamatological disorders
People suffering from heamatological disorders like leukemia and aplastic anemia experience ulcers of the mouth and throat.

4.5. GERD
GERD stands for Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease. It is characterized by reflux of food and stomach acids into the esophagus. It is caused due to improper closure or relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscular valve located at the opening of the stomach.
The stomach acids cause irritation, inflammation and formation of sores in the esophagus, causing you to experience sore throat.

Having been discussed the reasons we get a sore throat, let us now elaborate the risk factors that increase our chances of getting one.

1. Age
Children and teenagers are more susceptible to respiratory illnesses. The degree of pain in the throat experienced by them is higher than that in adults. Older people easily catch cold because of low-immunity. No wonder why it usually advances into serious ailments like tuberculosis.

2. Chemical irritants
Particulate matter present in the smoke from combustion of coal, petrol, diesel etc cause irritation of throat.

3. Pre-existing medical conditions
People suffering from asthma and sinusitis are at an increased risk of getting viral and bacterial sore throat. People with poorly-managed diabetes can easily contract fungal infections like Candidosis due to lowered immunity.

4. Tumors
Tumors of the tongue, pharynx and larynx are generally associated with smoking and alcoholism. Such tumors cause sore throat and radiating pain in the ears.

5. Compromised immunity
People with HIV have suppressed immunity and low level of resistance. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, malnourished children, pregnant women and people undergoing treatment with steroids are all susceptible to infections of the respiratory tract. Hormonal imbalance and stress are also known to inhibit body’s immune response.

6. Congested living spaces
Viral and bacterial infections tend to spread rapidly in overcrowded places like schools, prisons, hospitals and offices.

7. Proximity to the patients
Close contact with patients suffering from respiratory illnesses or other contagious infections can spread the infection to other people, especially by the way of airborne droplets.

Understanding the causes of getting a sore throat and the associated risk factors is necessary for effective and timely treatment of the underlying medical condition. It is also helpful to avoid getting such throat infections in future.

Note- The contents of this 'And My Life Goes On...' blog (texts, images, and other material contained) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician  regarding a medical condition you may have. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site.

Top 4 Causes of Dark Spots That Will Blow Your Mind

All the beautiful ladies out there, if your are looking to find reasons behind the coffee-colored patches on your skin, you have come at a right place.

Dark spots on skin can occur due an array of reasons. Dark spots show up on not only the face but also back, shoulders, waist and thighs. Dark spots develop due to accelerated production of melanin in the skin. According to Daily Makeover, the exact reason depends upon the area that is affected. The phenomenon of dark spots is also known as hyperpigmentation. Dark spots result into uneven skin tone or discoloration, which can literally break an otherwise beautiful complexion. Let us take a look at the culprits causing dark spots and how to remove that.

The Sun

The Sun is the number one perpetrator when it comes to giving dark spots. Summers may fade away but the damage sustained by the sun-exposed skin shows itself very clearly. Make-up can camouflage the hyperpigmentation temporarily, but it is necessary to contain and reverse the damage. Prolong exposure to sunlight triggers excessive production of melanin, a pigment which gives color to our skin, resulting into blotchy and patchy skin. The best way to prevent dark spots due to sun-damage is to use a good sunscreen that provides adequate protection against the UV rays of the Sun.

Constricted innerwear

While a fabulous well-fitted innerwear can enhance your appearance and boost your confidence, an extremely constricted innerwear can cause skin blemishes. Tight innerwear cause friction between itself and the skin, causing skin irritation and ultimately darkening of skin. Dark spots may appear near armpits, shoulders, neck and back if you wear an extremely tight bra that struggles to accommodate you. Similarly, skin irritation may occur around the waistline and groin due to tight-fitting panties. It would be extremely smart of you to dump your constricted lingerie and buy new well-fitting lingerie that doesn't dig in your skin. If the damage has been done, the dark spots can be treated with prescribed hydroquinone gel.

When hormones go haywire!

Hormonal changes affect women not only psychologically but also physically. While a woman experiences mood swings as her estrogen and progesterone play hide and seek, it is the skin that also undergoes changes. Hormonal changes due to pregnancy or intake of hormonal pills often takes a toll on the skin. Surge in these hormones cause accelerated melanin production and ultimately hypermigmentation. Dark patchy spots usually occur on forehead, cheeks, nose and chin. In case of pregnancy, dark spots vanish after delivery as hormones tend to settle down. When on hormonal pills, consulting a GP and switching over to another type of birth control measure is the only way out.

Hair removal

Hair removal can cause dark spots to develop, if the technique applied for getting rid of stray hair is faulty. Using depilatory creams and razors for hair removal causes skin irritation and darkening of skin. Waxing is known to the safest and most reliable way of hair removal. But getting your arms, legs or face waxed from an inexperienced or unskilled beautician can give you terrible dark spots. If you are already hit by dark spots due to faulty hair removal techniques, you can treat it with hydrocortisone cream under a physician's supervision.

An informative video on how to treat dark spots caused by acne

Making little changes in the way we do things on daily basis can help prevent dark spots and blotchy skin from ruining our complexion. By following a healthy routine of exfoliating, cleansing and moisturizing the skin, we can make it stay younger, healthier and glowing.

Note- The contents of this 'And My Life Goes On...' blog (texts, images, and other material contained) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician  regarding a medical condition you may have. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site.

Knowing the Facts of Severe Food Allergies - A guest post by Tammy Mahan

There are millions of people in the world having severe reactions caused by food allergies each year. While the symptoms of most food allergies are minor and the reactions mild, there are those that cause severe, even life threatening reactions. Food allergies cannot be cured; important measures for the prevention of serious consequences to health are recognizing the allergy early and managing the reactions to food.
Allergic reactions can be caused by over one hundred and sixty foods. The eight that are most common make up ninety percent of the allergic reactions to food and the source of a number of ingredients. This is why food labeling laws pinpoint these eight foods on ingredient labels. 

Top Eight Allergy Foods

  • Wheat
  • Peanuts
  • Soybeans
  • Tree nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds)
  • Eggs
  • Dairy (milk)
  • Crustacean shellfish (lobster, shrimp, crab)
  • Fish

The food labeling law (requiring allergens to be identified on labels) designates these as major allergens that could lead to severe reactions. The individual ingredients have to be listed on the label with the source of the food in parenthesis beside them if it is not obvious from the food name itself. There can be an allergy warning that says: this product contains (name of allergen), or that the food was made in a facility that also makes one of the common allergens. 

Reacting to Severe Food Allergy Symptoms

A food allergy could be present if there is the appearance of certain symptoms and avoiding them can prevent the re-occurrence.
  • Reading labels will help to avoid the foods that result in the allergy. Recognizing the first symptoms of an allergic reaction and being knowledge of the proper measures for treatment is important. 
  • Treatment should be initiated immediately by those that have a food allergy and begin having symptoms while eating or after eating. Visiting the emergency room should be done if the symptoms worsen.

Allergic Reaction Symptoms

Severe food allergy reactions can appear after a few minutes or up to two hours after the food has been eaten. Hives, rash, swelling of the lips, face and tongue and abdominal cramps are all signs of allergic reactions. There can also be difficulty breathing, dizziness, loss of consciousness and swelling of the vocal cords and throat with an allergic reaction.
It is important to learn to identify the symptoms early so that treatment can be gotten immediately to prevent death from resulting.

Severe Food Allergies Can Threaten Your Life

Anaphylaxis can result from eating a food that you are allergic too. The airways in the lungs can become constricted. Swelling of the throat can lead to suffocation, and anaphylactic shock can occur when the blood pressure drops severely leading to shock.

Anaphylaxis from severe food allergies results in approximately one hundred and fifty deaths, two thousand hospitalizations and thirty thousand visits to the emergency room in the United States per year.
Learning which foods that you are allergic too and educating yourself about the reading of labels to identify common allergy inducing foods is of the utmost importance for your health when you live with severe food allergies.

About the Author

Tammy Mahan earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing at the State University of New York. She practiced as a Registered Nurse for 20 years. She has experience working in the following medical units; intensive care, cardiac care, medical/surgical, oncology, pediatrics, neo-natal intensive care, and emergency room care. As a Certified Natural Health Consultant, she advises people on alternative treatments and helps them set up treatment plans that will best suit their needs. Tammy has written hundreds of articles, blog posts and eBooks related to health and medical topics. She has also ghost written thousands of articles on topics ranging from arts and crafts to zoo animals. She also has excellent research skills that allows her to write informative articles on any topic in laymen terms and for the highly educated. Tammy is also the author of a cookbook, a children’s non-fiction book, and a new age book. As a mother, she is also well versed in topics relating to family and children. As an animal lover, she enjoys spending time with and caring for her pets. Tammy has also traveled extensively throughout the United States and several other countries. As a professional writer, she creates content that is informative and engaging to her readers.

Indian Problems!

Dear Readers,

I am writing this post to depict the funny realities of my life as an Indian, as well as life of the people around me. This is all based on my observations about my people.
This post does not intend to hurt anyone's sentiments. So I request you to take this write-up with a pinch of salt. I am sure you too would be able to connect to the following events and end up smiling by the time you finish reading the last sentence.

Where did my life go, Penny?

So, here we go!

  • Parents say 'Don't talk to boys'! Middle School: Don't talk to boys. High School: Don't talk to boys. College: Don't talk to boys. Age 23: It's time for you to get married!
  • Every Indian wedding you go to, your American friends ask if it was arranged.
  • I spend an hour in the sun and I turn 50 shades of brown.
  • 34% of Microsoft employees are Indian. Because of this, I think Microsoft Word shouldn't think my name is a spelling error.
  • Keep your friends close and coupons closer!
  • All these people talk about how much they smoke, and the closest I've ever gotten is inhaling the agarbatti (Those scent sticks you light up)
  • Parents can turn the simplest conversations into something extremely awkward.
  • Mom: Go do this, then do that, now do this. After that do this. Me: I barely started the first thing!
  • You're Indian when "be there in 5 minutes" turns into 45 minutes.
  • The best part about having a complicated name is that teachers are less likely to call on you.
  • Your Mom tells embarrassing stories about you to the other aunties.
  • When there is another Indian in my class, we either become friends or we are in direct competition for higher grades.
  • I always have a love hate relationship with autocorrect when it comes to Indian names.
  • I didn't choose the Indian life. The Indian life threatened me with a chappal until I submitted to its will.

Happy Friendships Day

I wish all my blogger buddies a very Happy Friendships Day! I hope we share this bond for an eternity :)

“A good friend is a connection to life, a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world.”
Lois Wyse (1926-2007);

And a tribute to true friends and friendship..

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