Sore throat can be defined as irritation or scratch feeling in the throat causing difficulty while swallowing. Sore throat is also known as pharyngitis meaning inflammation of pharynx or throat cavity.
Even though there are several reasons for sore throat, it is often caused by virus. Common types of sore throat needs no treatment since it gets resolved within a week. In some cases, sore throat can be due to bacterial infection like strep infection.
Sore Throat Symptoms
Some of the common signs of sore throat are painful sensation in the throat that worsens while swallowing, scratching feeling, dryness and swelling of glands in the neck. The tonsils or inner tongue become reddish and swollen. For some people, the voice may become hoarse.
In addition to the above, sore throat can be accompanied with fever, cough, runny nose, headache, body pain and in rare cases nausea and vomiting. Sore throat caused by a cold gets better as time passes and resolves within a day or two. However sore throat caused due to bacterial infection will become worse over time and will persist for many days until you take antibiotics.
Sore Throat Causes
Most of the time, sore throat is due to viral infection like cold, flu or in rare cases due to measles or chickenpox. Bacterial infection like strep throat can cause sore throat. Whooping cough is also a bacterial infection that begins as sore throat. For some people, sore throat can be the result of allergic reaction when exposed to dust, molds and pollen grain which also causes postnasal drip.
Dryness and lowered humidity can also affect your throat making it scratchy and sore. Yelling at the peak of your voice can strain the muscles of your throat causing sore throat. Gastro-esophageal disease like GERD can force acids into the throat causing sore throat. In rare cases, development of tumor in the throat or voice box can be the reason for sore throat.
Who Are At Risk?
Sore throat can occur to anyone irrespective of age. People with lowered immunity like children, people who are in the habit of smoking or using tobacco and people who are often exposed to pollution and allergies and those with chronic infections and living in crowded environment can develop sore throat easily.
Your doctor will listen to your symptoms and examine your throat through lighted torch. He may gently touch your neck to verify whether the glands are swollen. Throat swab can be taken and tested in the lab for identifying any bacterial infection.
No medication is required for viral infection that has caused sore throat. You can take lozenges to relax the throat muscles. In case of bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics of recommended doses. You can try using over the counter drugs like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to get quick relief from pain. In case of nasal drip, decongestant nasal sprays can be used.
Sore Throat Home Remedies
- For any cause of sore throat, you can drink plenty of fluids, preferably warm.
- Take lukewarm saltwater and gargle it several times a day.
- Include more of warm liquids like tea, coffee in your schedule to get comfort.
- Use a humidifier to reduce dryness in your room or office.
- Stop smoking and chewing tobacco since it can worsen your problem.
- Get plenty of rest and sleep.