The milder sore throat is commonly the beginning of an ordinary cold, although sometimes it is caused by digestive disorders. Exposure to cold and wet is, however, the most frequent source of this form of sore throat. Soreness, dryness, and tickling first call attention to the trouble, together with a feeling of chilliness and, perhaps, slight fever. There may be some stiffness and soreness about the neck, owing to swelling of the glands. If the back of the tongue is held down by a spoon handle, the throat will be seen to be generally reddened, including the back, the bands at the side forming the entrance to the throat at the back of the mouth, and the uvula or small, soft body hanging down from the middle of the soft palate at the very back of the roof of the mouth. The tonsils are not large and red nor covered with white dots, as in tonsilitis. Neither is there much pain in swallowing. The surface of the throat is first dry, glistening, and streaked with stringy, sticky mucus.
Treatment. The disorder rarely lasts more than a few days. The bowels should be moved in the beginning of the attack by some purge, as two compound cathartic pills or three grains of calomel, and the throat gargled, six times daily, with potassium chlorate solution (one quarter teaspoonful to the cup of water), or with Dobell’s solution. In gargling, simply throw back the head and allow the fluid to flow back as far as possible into the throat without swallowing it. The frequent use of one of these fluids in an atomizer is even preferable to gargling. As an additional treatment, the employment of a soothing and pleasant substance, as peppermints, hoarhound or lemon drops, or marshmallows or gelatin lozenges, is efficacious, and will prove an agreeable remedy to the patient in sad contrast with many of our prescriptions. The use of tobacco must be stopped while the throat is sore.