Emergency Care for Urgent Situations: Throat Pain
Throat pain and sore throat is something that all of us have experienced at one time or the other, especially as part of the symptoms of cold or flu. You may also have strained your throat muscles due to talking loudly or yelling for long periods of time from maybe a demonstration or shouting instructions from the sidelines if you are a sports coach. In most cases, throat pain, especially that which is as a result of flu in flu season will resolve on its own after a few days. If it is as a result of overexerting your throat muscles, then some rest and your throat, and voice, will be back to normal. However, while throat pain and sore throat may usually come across as something mundane and not to be worried about, there are certain instances where the throat pain may be a sign of something more serious that may require emergency medical care. It is therefore important to know when your throat pain is an urgent situation requiring medical attention as well as what to do when you find yourself in such a situation. That is where this article comes in as it will look to highlight the urgent situations as far as throat pain is concerned as well as what you should do in such situations.
The very first thing you should look at as far as our throat pain is concerned, something that will help you determine if your situation is urgent, is if there are any other symptoms accompanying your throat pain. Here, there are two sets of symptoms to look out for; those that may indicate a more sinister underlying issue as far as your throat pain is concerned, and those which, though they may also be a sign of a serious medical condition, are serious symptoms by themselves. Examples of the latter type of symptoms include shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Although these may be a sign of something more serious, they need to be addressed as soon as possible by providing you with ventilation therapy and help breathing to stop you from asphyxiating. If you are presenting with such symptoms to go with your throat pain, then you need to head over to an emergency room as soon as possible to be attended to. If your difficulty breathing and shortness of breath is so severe, you should call 911 rather than driving yourself to the emergency room, or if not possible, have someone drive you there; maybe a neighbor, friend or family member.
The other set of symptoms indicate that your throat pain may be as a result of something serious and as such you should seek emergency treatment. They include high fever, coughing up blood, an inability to swallow, drooling which could also indicate an inability to swallow, an inability to open your mouth all the way, muffled voice as well as severe swelling on one side of your throat, which may be a sign that you have an abscess of the tonsil. These symptoms are usually a sign of an infection, which could be a bacterial infection, with Streptococcus pyogenes being the most common culprit or it could be a sign of a viral infection such as croup, measles among others. It is important to have these infections attended to as soon as possible, especially bacterial infections so as to prevent them from spreading to the blood and causing sepsis. Such symptoms may also be a sign of an allergic reaction, and if you notice throat pain as well as other signs of a serious allergic reaction such as an inability to swallow, a severe rash, swelling in your face or neck among others, you should head over to an emergency room as soon as possible as severe allergic reactions could lead to anaphylaxis which is potentially life-threatening.
You should also check for lumps on your neck as these as well as throat pain may be a sign of cancerous tumors of the throat or the larynx, also known as the voice box. It goes without saying that if this is the case, then you need to access medical attention as soon as you can. If you are experiencing throat pain, another thing to do in order to know if it is urgent is to ask yourself if you have had any medical treatment or procedure or have any medical condition that may be compromising your immune system. If this is the case, you should head over to an emergency room as soon as possible for emergency care since throat pain in a person with a weakened immune system may lead to serious complications. Conditions that may compromise your immune system include HIV/AIDS, if you have recently had transplant surgery and are on transplant medication which is usually given to ensure your body doesn’t reject the transplanted organ, if you have cancer or are undergoing cancer treatment or if you have any other existing severe illness or infection.
Hopefully, from the above discussion, you will be able to identify if your throat pain is an urgent situation and how you should proceed so as to ensure you get the treatment you require.