Sore throat and fever: useful solutions

Sore throat and fever often come in pairs, creating significant discomfort for a few days. Strategies to counteract them exist and, almost never, involve the use of antibiotics.

Sometimes, fever appears first, while a more or less intense sore throat arises later: in these cases, at the origin of both disorders there is almost always a cold, such as influenza or another seasonal illness caused by viruses.

In other cases, sore throat occurs first, while fever develops secondarily, as an effect of the immune response triggered in the airways. Also in this case, to cause local inflammation and the increase in temperature are mainly respiratory viruses, generally intercepted in the environment or being close to people already sick.

Sore throats with fever referable to bacterial infections are, on the other hand, a small minority, especially in adulthood, and tend to affect mainly people with a specific susceptibility to this level, constitutive or promoted by smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, the presence of reduced immune defenses or chronic respiratory diseases (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, cystic fibrosis, etc.).

Although it may seem strange, the first useful approach to relieve inflammation, burning and pain at the level of the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat, making less effort to speak and swallow is the same in all cases of sore throat and fever mentioned and is based on the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and on some practical measures. Let’s see which ones.

Reference medicines

To choose the most suitable drug in case of simultaneous presence of sore throat and fever is, first of all, necessary to establish what is the prevailing manifestation.

In particular, if the temperature has increased only slightly (37.5-38.0 ° C), while the throat discomfort is very intense, it is advisable to focus attention on the treatment of the latter, on which fever probably also depends. In this regard, it should be remembered that, according to the guidelines on the management of fever, antipyretic drugs of any kind (tablets, effervescent granules, suppositories, etc.) should be taken only when the temperature is above 38.0-38.5 ° C, unless the general malaise is frankly excessive.

When the first target of treatment is sore throat, therefore, the drugs to refer to are local NSAIDs, available mostly as tablets to be dissolved slowly in the mouth or spray. Among the most effective, which can be purchased in pharmacies without a prescription, there are those based on flurbiprofen, ketoprofen or naproxen, indicated for adults and children over 12 years.

Alternatively, locally acting products based on antiseptics can also be purchased in pharmacies. Unlike the latter, anti-inflammatory products are characterized by a longer duration of action (up to six hours) and the ability to act directly on inflammation, which causes the annoying symptoms typical of sore throat (pain, difficulty swallowing, swollen throat).

This approach is valid both when sore throat and fever are due to a viral infection and in the rare cases in which they are sustained by a bacterial infection, generally streptococci. Contrary to what many mistakenly think, in fact, several studies have shown that against the majority of bacterial infections of the throat it is not necessary to take antibiotics to heal, since the immune system is perfectly able to counteract germs on its own and eliminate the disorder in a few days.

Even in case of a sore throat of bacterial origin, in the first 2-3 days, it is therefore recommended to limit yourself to taking a local anti-inflammatory drug, such as the aforementioned tablets and sprays based on flurbiprofen, ketoprofen or naproxen, to relieve the most annoying symptoms. Subsequently, if the sore throat does not improve or there are also phlegm or breathing difficulties of a certain importance, it will be good to contact the doctor for precise indications on how to continue the treatment.

When the prevailing problem is high fever (≥ 38.5 °), in the face of a minor sore throat, the use of a systemic anti-inflammatory drug that is also an effective antipyretic becomes a priority. In this case, the most useful remedies are oral preparations based on ibuprofen or acetylsalicylic acid (the latter can only be used after the age of 16). Alternatively, especially in children, pregnant and people with hypersensitivity (allergy) to NSAIDs, paracetamol can be used, but without a real anti-inflammatory action.

It is also good to remember the need to avoid taking too many anti-inflammatories at the same time. Therefore, if you resort to a mouth medication based on ibuprofen or acetylsalicylic acid to combat fever, it is better to distance the use of anti-inflammatory tablets and sprays against sore throat by at least 4 hours.

The tricks that help

In the presence of sore throat and fever, the first advice to follow is to stay at rest to allow the body to save energy and focus on fighting viruses (or, more rarely, bacteria) that have attacked it. As a rule, it is an easy recommendation to follow because raising body temperature and breathing difficulties make you feel decidedly fatigued and out of shape.

So, follow your instincts and stay in bed, warm, but in a room with well-humidified air to facilitate hydration of the mucous membranes of the throat and bronchi. Always for this purpose, try to drink as much as possible, repeatedly sipping water or other liquids, preferably unsweetened or sweetened with a little honey, at room temperature or lukewarm. Are indicated, calming herbal teas (for example, based on mallowerisimo, marshmallow, etc.), chamomile or tea, milk, light broths (ideal chicken, if you like, especially in case of flu), juices and centrifuges of fresh non-acidic fruit or vegetables.

Between sips you can also suck sugar-free candies based on mint, eucalyptol, rhubarb or licorice logs (the latter sparingly and only if you do not suffer from high blood pressure or other cardiovascular or kidney diseases). But, generally, if you already take tablets based on flurbiprofen, ketoprofen or naproxen every 4-6 hours and drink enough, you should not feel the need for other local remedies.

Joycelyn Elders is the author and creator of EmpowerEssence, a health and wellness blog. Elders is a respected public health advocate and pediatrician dedicated to promoting general health and well-being.

The blog covers a wide range of topics related to health and wellness, with articles organized into several categories.

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