The 4 signs your sore throat could be deadly serious

AS we delve deeper into the winter months, many us are likely to pick up a cold, with one of the most common symptoms being a sore throat.

Most of the time, sore throats are caused by viruses like the common cold, or from smoking.

But there are some conditions that present with a sore throat and can be deadly serious.

The NHS says that most of the time, sore throats will treat themselves and will usually be gone within a week.

To help soothe a sore throat there are things you can do, including avoiding smoking and being around people who smoke.

You should also gargle with warm, salty water and try and eat cool and soft foods which won't irritate you.

If none of the usual remedies are helping and you have seen a pharmacist then it's advisable to see your GP.

Here are the four conditions that your sore throat could be a sign of.

1. Peritonsillar abscess

This is an abscess which is filled with puss and can be deadly as it can become so large that it can obstruct the airways, making it hard for you to breathe.

The abscess will contain bacteria and cellular debris which is found near the tonsils.

If you think you have peritonsillar then you need to see a doctor as they will have to drain the abscess with a needle to stop it obstructing your airway and to stop you ingesting the bacteria.

If you've got peritonsillar then it will usually display as swelling on the roof of your mouth as well as on one side of your throat.

2. Tumour

One expert says that a sore throat is one of the first signs of throat cancer.

Dr Omid Mehdizadeh an otolaryngologist and laryngologist said if a tumour is growing on one side of your throat, it can cause pain on just that one side.

He explained that the only way to diagnose or rule out a tumour is to see a doctor who can check for growing lumps or other symptoms, he told Insider.

"A doctor can also perform a laryngoscopy, in which a small camera is inserted through the nose or mouth to look for polyps, tumours, or other signs of inflamed growths inside your larynx and hypopharynx", DrMehdizadeh explained.

You might need to have surgery to remove the tumour depending on its size and growth.

If it is found the be cancerous then you might need radiation or therapy to prevent it from coming back.

There are over 4,000 deaths from throat cancer in the UK every year and other signs include a cough, change in your voice or difficulty swallowing.

3. Covid-19

While the NHS states that a new persistent cough, a high temperature and a loss of taste and smell are signs of Covid, many patients have also experienced a sore throat.

The ZOE Covid Symptom Study app has shown that a sore throat is among the most frequently reported symptoms, in both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Tim Spector, the leading researcher on the study, presented a YouTube video in which he asked viewers to report exactly how their sore throat feels. 

He said: “We are getting a messages that the sore throat people are getting with Covid is a bit unusual, it’s not like they’ve seen it before. 

“Maybe in a different place, or it feels differently.

“We might be doing some more research on that to see if we can distinguish these Covid type symptoms from the ones of a normal cold virus.”

In the UK over 145,000 people have died from coronavirus.

It's important that if you think you have Covid you get a test and isolate so that you can't pass the bug on to anyone else.

Most people who catch Covid have moderate or mild symptoms.

4. Flu

Thousands of people die from the flu or related conditions every year in the UK.

Flu can be deadly for elderly and vulnerable people so it's important that you look in on them during the winter months.

Usually the flu will clear up on its own but you can try drinking warm fluids, taking a hot shower and gargling salt water.

In any case, if your sore throat is long lasting then you should see a doctor.

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