Specialists in ear, nose and throat treatment have cautioned Nigerians against the taking of sore throat for granted, noting that the health condition should be promptly and appropriately treated at all times
They stressed that if untreated or poorly treated, sore throat can lead to the damage of organs of the body like the heart and kidneys in the long term.
According to the experts, Nigerians should also stop the use of lozenges for the treatment of sore throat, noting that it is often not the appropriate treatment option for it.
Lozenges, they said, are like sweets, adding that they can only provide temporary relief and do not help treat the organism that causes sore throat.
They explained that although sore throat can be a self-limiting viral infection sometimes, it can also be caused by a bacterium known as streptococcus which can be severe if untreated, adding that sore throat caused by the bacterium is known as strep.
Sore throat when untreated, the experts stressed can lead to an acute rheumatic fever that can develop into rheumatic heart disease, which could seriously damage heart valves.
Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise in separate interviews, the experts, consultant otorhinolaryngologists, Drs. Ethel Chime and Abdulrahman Afolabi also revealed that untreated and poorly treated sore throats caused by streptococcus can affect other organs of the body in the future, noting that the bacteria is connected with other organs of the body.
Chime, an Enugu-based ENT specialist, noted that there are several causes of sore throat, adding that it is a health condition that should be treated based on the cause.
She said, “It depends on what causes it. If it is due to an infectious process and it is not well treated, well, the assertion that it can affect other organs and parts of the body will hold.
“The reason is that there’s a particular organism that affects the throat causing sore throat, streptococcus, that same bacterium has a predilection for heart valves, it can also affect the kidney so because of that, it is good to treat sore throat properly.”
She also noted that cancerous growth can also cause a person to suffer a sore throat adding that “if such cancer is not treated early, it can spread to other parts of the body like the lungs, brain, and kidney and thus damage them.
On the treatment options for the health condition, she noted that if a sore throat is due to infectious causes like bacteria or fungi, appropriate antibiotics or antifungal treatment is often prescribed to treat it.
However, if it is due to cancer, she said the patient would have to be operated on so that the growth can be analysed for further treatment plans.
Also speaking with PUNCH HealthWiae, Dr. Afolabi, explained that the organism that attacks the tonsils which causes sore throat can also attack the heart valves hence the need to ensure the health condition is promptly and properly treated.
While noting that untreated sore throat can cause chronic obstruction. Afolabi added that it, “can also affect the heart causing what is called pulmonary obstruction that could subsequently affect the functionality of the heart.”
Afolabi cautioned Nigerians against depending on oral mouthwash, hydrogen peroxide, and menthol sweets with bitter kola in the treatment of sore throat, stressing that will only give temporary relief because the actual organism has not been taken care of.
The experts urged Nigerians to always ensure they see the right experts for the treatment of sore throat and stop using traditional medication to treat the health condition.
Dr. Chime noted that some traditional medicine practitioners sometimes remove the uvula – a vital structure of the body, in their claim of treating sore throat.
She said, “There’s this misconception that traditional medicine can treat sore throat and people often go to the traditional medicine practitioners who would amputate the uvula – a very vital structure because it helps to protect the nose and allows food to go down into the throat without the food regurgitating through the nose. So, when they remove that structure, that is not even the offending agent, they think the problem is solved but it has not been solved.
“Some go to traditional healers who fiddle with their neck and cause dissimulation of the infection. A lot of people develop sepsis; some even die from it. My advice is that when people have a sore throat, they should see a doctor who will evaluate and give adequate treatment,” she said.
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