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Sore Throat: Causes, Symptoms And Remedies For Treating The Sore Throat

Loveleen Gupta | September 26, 2018

Sore throat is a common problem that anyone can face. A sore throat is characterized by scratchiness, irritation, dryness and pain in the throat. In some cases, the affected individual may face difficulty in swallowing food and even have swollen lymph nodes. Common throat infections can be of two types – bacterial sore throat and viral sore throat. The viral throat infection is referred to as a sore throat or pharyngitis and it is usually caused by a cold or flu. However, a bacterial throat infection is called strep throat and is caused by the Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. Of the two, viral infection is more common in adults. The viral infection is resistant to antibiotics but it goes away or gets better on its own in a few days. While strep throat needs to be treated with a course of antibiotics to cure it and prevent it from developing into further complications. It is also contagious. So, let us learn all about a sore throat. 

What Is Sore Throat?

sore throat

If you are wondering what is a sore throat, then understand that if you feel irritation and itching in your throat, then it is a sore throat. The conditions of sore throat can become so severe sometimes that you may even face difficulty in talking and breathing. While the most common causes of a sore throat may be a common cold, there are other causes too which will be discussed here. A healthy diet can do a lot in treating the sore throat and remove the discomfort caused. You may also refer to a doctor if the infection and swelling continue for a long time. 

Also read: What if something gets stuck in child’s throat

Sore Throat Symptoms

Usually defined by the cause of the infection, some of the most common symptoms of sore throat may include:

1. You may face pain and a perpetual itching in the throat. The throat pain can sometimes become extremely painful, so take care of it at the right time.

2. If you face difficulty in talking or swallowing, then it may be due to a sore throat.

3. A hoarse voice is another common symptom of sore throat. 

4. If there is a swollen tonsil, then it is yet another symptom of a sore throat. 

5. One of the less seen symptoms of sore throat is the loss of appetite. Due to the throat pain and throat infection, you may sometimes face difficulty in eating.

6. A loss of taste is another symptom of sore throat which you should take care of.

7. Your body can sometimes feel dehydrated too as you are unable to eat properly. 

8. Another sore throat infection includes the formation of white patches or pus formation in the tonsil region.

9. An inflamed gland in the neck and jaw is another symptom of sore throat. 

If you are facing any such symptoms, it is time that you see a doctor at the earliest. 

Must read: Causes and symptoms of tonsillitis

Causes Of Sore Throat

There can be many reasons for a sore throat. Here are some of the common sore throat causes that you must know:

  • Underlying viral illness: Pharyngitis may be an indication of an underlying viral illness like influenza or flu, common cold, measles, mumps, chickenpox, tonsillitis, mononucleosis, mono or kissing disease, or croup – a childhood condition characterized by a barking cough.
  • Dryness: If you have a room that is heated, then it can dry out the indoor air. This may cause the throat to feel irritated and itchy, especially in the mornings. Breathing through the mouth can also dry the throat making it feel raw and sore.
  • Allergies: Some allergies, like those to dust, pollen, pet dander, moulds, etc., manifest themselves as a sore throat.
  • Strained muscles: A sore throat may result from straining the throat muscles by screaming loudly or talking or singing nonstop for a long period.
  • Pollutants and irritants: Pollutants like smoke and smog in the air can irritate the throat. Irritants like tobacco, cigarette or tobacco smoke, fumes from cleaning materials can also inflame the throat muscles leading to a sore throat.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): In this digestive system disorder, acids and other contents in the stomach may re-enter the food pipe, thereby irritating the throat.
  • Injury or foreign particles: Any direct blow to the throat or some foreign object, like a piece of food getting stuck in the food pipe, can also cause the muscles in the throat to get inflamed and cause pain and soreness.
  • Weak immune system: In conditions where the immune system is compromised, like HIV infection and certain cancers, a sore throat may be a recurring problem. This may happen because of secondary fungal infections like cytomegalovirus (CMV) or oral thrush.
  • Tumours: Lumps or tumours, malignant or benign, in the throat, larynx (voice box) or on the tongue may cause a sore throat.

Though pharyngitis can affect anybody, certain people are at a greater risk of developing it. So, it is better that you take the required precautions at the earliest.

Home Remedies For Sore Throat

While the sore throat can be extremely painful at times, there are certain home remedies too. These home remedies can do a lot in relieving you from the pain of the sore throat.

1. The first and foremost thing that you can do is take an ample amount of rest. Taking rest for some time is sure to make you feel better. 

2. Another sore throat treatment includes doing gargle. You can gargle with hot water and salt at least four times a day. Doing this can help a lot in relieving the pain in your throat.

3. You must also drink a lot of water to keep your throat filled with fluids. Drinking water also helps in reducing the chances of further infection.

4. To keep yourself hydrated, you can also drink mildly warm fluids. Warm fluids include tea, lemon water, etc. You can also make a vegetable soup which will not only keep you nourished but also prevent dehydration. For treating the bacterial sore throat, you must also try to give rest to your throat by speaking less.

5. Turmeric is a home remedy for almost all health problems. Eat it in its raw form or add turmeric to your glass of milk.

6. A lozenge can also help a lot in treating the problems of sore throat. So, take it regularly until there are symptoms of sore throat. 

What To Eat With A Sore Throat

Besides the home remedies for sore throat, there are also certain foods that can help you in this case. Like all other diseases, even sore throat can be treated by following a healthy diet. A healthy diet is what will keep your body nourished in all ways. So, eat these foods for treating your sore throat.

1. Drinking pomegranate juice can help reduce the problems of sore throat. Pomegranate juice will also reduce the inflammation that might have developed in the throat region.

2. Green tea is also a good option for treating sore throat. Just keep in mind that it is not too hot while you drink it. You can also make ginger tea as ginger is an excellent natural source to cure infections.

3. If you are a non-vegetarian foodie, then you can eat eggs. The best option is to eat scrambled eggs as they are soft. Eating eggs will nourish your body with a lot of proteins.

4. As a sore throat leads to irritation, so you must eat things that are soft. The best option thus is to make smoothies with fresh fruits and nourish your body.

5. As vegetables contain most of the essential nutrients, it is always necessary to eat these vegetables. Vegetables like carrot, cabbage, are nutritious. So, boil these vegetables and reap their benefits.

Besides, you should also avoid alcohol and stay away from smoking. As drinking alcohol can worsen the sore throat infection, it is best that you stay away from it. 

When To See A Doctor For Sore Throat?

sore throat

As you already know that there are a number of causes of sore throat, but taking care of it is very important. Generally, the symptoms of sore throat go away after 6 days. However, if the irritation still continues, then it is now time for you to see a doctor. Besides refer to a doctor if you are facing the following problems:

  • If you face difficulty in breathing due to a sore throat, immediately rush to the doctor.
  • You must also consult the doctor immediately if the swelling and pain are unbearable.
  • If you are facing difficulty in opening your mouth or are having joint pain, then it is better to see a doctor.
  • The moment you see blood coming out along with saliva, then do not wait long and visit the doctor.
  • If you are also having a fever along with a sore throat, then consulting a doctor is the best option.

So, keep these things in mind if you have a sore throat. Take medicines properly and follow the home remedies so that you start feeling better at the earliest.

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Loveleen Gupta


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