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Date of last update: 10/12/2017.

Forum Name: Viral Infections

Question: Recurring sore throats for 2 years and no diagnosis

 redzoe1000 - Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:21 am

I have had recurring sore throats for at least 2 years and all my doctor says is that its a virus and nothing he can do. I get them at least once a month, often once a week and they can be so painful that breathing hurts. Most of the time I self medicate with throat losengers and it helps a little but it takes a couple of days to go and wonder why I get them all the time? Currently I am travelling so can't easily pop into a doctor without having to go through my travel insurance and pharmasists in Asia just offer antibioltics without even looking at my throat so I stay well clear of them. Should I take a course of antibiotics ? And would they work on a virus anyway??? And what is the difference between a virus and bacterial infections and why do I get them - I wonder if something is staying in my body and I am not completely fighting it off.
I have never had any tests or swabs or anything else like that and wonder if I should - or should I wait until I get back home in 5 months and stick it out until then. Oh and if I am tired or run down or have any other illness, my throat is always painful. My glands usually are slightly swollen, and often I have problems hearing people talking if here is any background noise. Not sure if this is related...
Hope you can shed some light for me.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:49 pm

User avatar Hi there -

While many sore throats are viral in origin, once a month for two years suggests there is some sort of chronic infection or disorder that should be uncovered via blood tests (Epstein-Barr virus comes to mind, especially what with the swollen glands as well). It could be an allergic problem, but it's a rather unusual manifestation unless you have also chronic post-nasal drip (PND) irritating your throat.

If it is a viral problem antibiotics won't do anything. If it happens to be a recurrent bacterial infection (possibly due to a deep sinus infection), antibiotics should make a big difference. Viruses are much smaller microbes than bacteria and are structured very differently. They are unfazed by antibiotics. They usually run a course and then move on or die. However, some types (like E-B, mentioned above) can take up residence and keep flaring up. There are blood tests to uncover these, although there isn't much in the way of medical treatment for them. If you do have a long-lived viral infection you should at least know so that you can take the appropriate measures to boost your immunity, get rest, and keep the virus suppressed as much as possible. Rest, good nutrition and lots of patience are sometimes required.

I'd ask to have the problem diagnosed, since it really shouldn't be happening so frequently nor for so long.

Best of luck to you.
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Sun Dec 14, 2008 6:29 am

User avatar I hope your throat is feeling better. Please keep us updated.

Best regards,

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