Sore throats in adults: who sees a doctor?
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In a study looking at the relationship of life stress events to health status, 500 individuals randomly selected from family practices in Hamilton, Ontario were asked to keep a health diary for three days every two weeks over a two year period. The compliance with diary keeping was remarkably high (85%), partly due to a novel method of reinforcing compliance. The present study involved reviewing these health diaries for symptoms of sore throat during the three month period January to March 1979. Over 2,700 diaries representing 8,148 person/days were reviewed; 48% recorded at least one symptom and 5.2% of all diaries recorded sore throat on at least one day. Eight to 16% of those individuals recording sore throat as a symptom contacted a health professional and/or took prescribed drugs.Although the group under study included only adults, the low medical contact rate of patients with sore throats raises questions about the effectiveness of any approach to sore throat/pharyngitis adopted in office practice.
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