Sore throat is the most common symptom of visiting an ENT doctor. And during a pandemic, doctors of this specialty are increasingly complaining about a hoarse voice. It’s not that people began to drink icy water more often in the cold – it’s just that today online conferences have become part of our life, which often requires the tension of the vocal apparatus. The experts talked about how to cope with all sorts of throat problems, and when you cannot do without the help of a doctor.
Tatiana Neshpapa, therapist, pulmonologist, member of the Russian Respiratory Society, says that about two to three times a year, each person experiences unpleasant symptoms in the throat area (pain, perspiration, voice problems). According to the World Health Organization, 44% of humanity has an upper respiratory tract infection every year. A general practitioner every season of ARVI sees at least 600 patients with such complaints. Most often, their causes are pharyngitis and tosilopharyngitis of both viral and bacterial origin. Up to 5% of the working-age population of the Russian Federation and more than 70% of patients visiting otorhinolaryngologists suffer from chronic pharyngitis. According to WHO, more than 616 million cases of pharyngitis occur in the world every year.
The prevalence of chronic tonsillitis is also quite high: according to some reports, up to 10% of the population of European countries and Russia are affected by the disease. Both adults and children are ill.
But there are other reasons for the appearance of pain and discomfort in the throat. For example, symptoms can be associated with various injuries of the pharynx, abscess, and even pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract – for example, gastroreflux disease. “With gastroreflux, acid is thrown into the upper respiratory tract, causing chemical pharyngitis,” says Dr. Neshpapa.
More rare causes of pain and discomfort in the throat include nerve neuritis, osteochondrosis, neoplasms and Marshall syndrome. The latter is not so rare in children and is manifested by periodic recurring fever strictly on a certain day of each month, as well as sore throat, pharyngitis, stomatitis and lymphodenitis.
One of the common causes of throat problems today is an overload of the vocal apparatus. According to the actor and public speaking coach Fyodor Balandin, voice fatigue during online performances is higher. There are several exercises that can help you quickly restore an overworked voice and give it the desired depth and persuasiveness. “Try to stick out your tongue to the end and say“ KG ”several times – you will hear how your voice changes. Another exercise: make your palms like boats and mentally warm the sparrow in them – such a simple technique helps to open the throat, “the expert advises.
Fyodor Balandin singles out several voice registers of the speaker: “Prince” (delight without reason), “Warrior” (appeal, agitation), “King” (calmness, status), “Magician” (erotic, aspirated). “There is also a fifth register -“ Pretender ”: when we are under stress, the voice begins to tremble, switches to falsetto. If the “Pretender” appears, try to feel your feet, imagine how you are rooted in the ground – and then you will find yourself in the range of “King” and “Magician”, says Balandin.
Well, the main treatment for inflammatory diseases of the throat remains non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, for example, based on bendizamine, which also have antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic effects. In addition, depending on the situation, antiseptics, hypertonic saline solutions, anesthetics, phyto- and homeopreparations are used.
Dr. Neshpapa supports the recommendation from the Soviet encyclopedia to dissolve a piece of ice for a sore throat. In addition, experts provide several recommendations to help you keep your voice alive during illness.
First, remember that silence is golden. In the case of throat diseases, this recommendation is especially relevant: constant irritation of the laryngeal mucosa, which occurs during a conversation, increases inflammation and does not allow the ligaments to recover.
Second, it is a mistake to believe that if you speak in a whisper, your voice will recover faster. Quite the opposite: during a whisper, the vocal cords are overworked more. It is better to say less, and if possible, as advised above, be silent.
Third: pay attention to what you eat. It is better to refuse spicy dishes and spices for a sore throat. You should also temporarily refuse food that can irritate the mucous membrane of the oropharynx – cookies, dryers, nuts, crackers, etc.
Try not to expose yourself to sudden changes in air temperature. It is better not to leave the house in the frosty air or at least stand in the entrance for some time so that the temperature drop is gradual.
Breathe correctly. To preserve the vocal cords, always start speaking on the exhale, in order to exclude situations when there is not enough air to complete the phrase, which also leads to overstrain of the vocal cords.
Remember that if you talk a lot during your illness (even online), nodules can form on your vocal cords, which can later develop into polyps. They are treated only by surgery.