Sore Throat

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It can be caused by infections, or an allergic reaction. It may also be caused by something as trivial as shouting too long at a sporting event! Whatever the cause, sore throat is seldom life-threatening.

Sore throats are often caused by viral infections and seldom by bacterial ones. Allergies, outdoor pollution and dry air, as well as illnesses such as the common cold, the flu and measles, can all cause sore throats. The illnesses listed are all examples of viral infections and do not require antibiotics. The best remedies for viral infections are: bedrest, taking plenty of fluids, and gargling. And of course, resting the voice!

Pharmacy customer: Hello, do you speak English?
PTA: Hello. Yes, I do. What can I do for you?

I have a very sore throat and was wondering if you could recommend anything that I can take for it.
Oh, we have lots of sore throat remedies! It depends on what type of sore throat you have.

Well, I have trouble swallowing and my voice, as you can hear, is very hoarse.
Do you have any idea what might have caused it?

I think it might have been the people smoking at a party that I attended two days ago. I don’t smoke myself, but my friends were all smoking and I think I got a lot of secondary smoke. And the air was very dry at the party, they had air conditioning.
Yes, that can also cause sore throat. Do you have a temperature?

No, not at the moment. Why?
If you did have a temperature or swollen tonsils, or if the tonsils were pus-coated, it would indicate a bacterial infection.

I see.
You would then have to consult a doctor. Tonsillitis or a strep throat would need to be treated with antibiotics. In case of a suspected strep throat, the doctor does a swab test for laboratory analysis before prescribing the antibiotics to make sure that the infection is bacterial.

No, I don’t have any of those symptoms, thank goodness!
Good. When you have a sore throat it is necessary to get lots of fluids, tea, especially herbal teas, and water. Gargling is very soothing. The best type of gargle solution is one made up of Ems salt and lukewarm water. Gargle with this mornings and evenings.

Okay, I’ll take that. Do you have any lozenges?
Yes, we have Islandic moss in classic, which is quite neutral in flavour, or we also have menthol and cassis. Which would you like?

I’ll take the cassis, please.
30 or 60 lozenges?

Thirty, please.
I just have one more question: You don’t have gastroesophageal reflux, do you?

No, not that I know of. Why?
It’s another cause of sore throat. What about herbal tea?

What do you recommend?
What about marshmallow tea?

Marshmallow? That foamy stuff!
This is a medicinal herb.

I’ll try it. Thank you.
You are welcome. Goodbye.

Bye, bye!

VOCABULARY
sore throat
Halsweh, rauer Hals
life-threatening lebensbedrohlich
flu Grippe
measles Masern
require benötigen
remedies Heilmittel
bedrest Bettruhe
gargling gurgeln
hoarse heiser
Do you have a temperature? Haben Sie Fieber?
tonsils Gaumenmandeln
pus-coated eitrig
strep throat Halsentzündung
swab Abstrich
herbal teas Kräutertees
lukewarm lauwarm
lozenges Lutschtabletten
marshmallow Arznei-Eibisch
foamy stuff schaumiges Zeug

Den Artikel finden Sie auch in Die PTA IN DER APOTHEKE 10/15 auf Seite 52.

Catherine Croghan, Lecturer in English and native speaker

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