A Sore throat is a scratching, pain, or burning sensation in the throat that often gets worse when swallowing. The most common cause of a sore throat (Pharyngitis) is a viral infection such as the Flu or a cold. A sore throat is a burning or scratchy feeling in the back of your throat. Symptoms of a sore throat typically go away in a few days. An infection-related sore throat disappears on its own. Strep throat, a less ordinary type of sore throat caused by bacteria, requires treatment with Antibiotics to prevent complications. Other less common causes of sore throat might require more complex treatment.
What is Sore Throat?
A Sore throat, often characterized by pain, discomfort or scratchiness in the throat, is a common ailment that can result from various causes. It typically arises due to viral infections such as the Influenza or common cold which inflame the throat Mucous Membranes. Other factors like allergies, smoking, bacterial infections or environmental irritants can also lead to a sore throat. While the majority of sore throats are minor and go away on their own in a few days, some may need medical treatment, particularly if they last for a long time, are severe or are accompanied by other disturbing symptoms.
What are the Symptoms of Sore Throat
Other than throat pain, sore throat symptoms may include:
- throat discomfort or a scratchy feeling
- Difficult swallowing
- Speaking or swallowing causes more discomfort
- Swollen glands, sore in your jaw or neck
- Runny nose
- uneasy stomach
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Nasal congestion (stuffy nose)
- Hoarseness or muffled voice
The throat includes the Esophagus; windpipe also known as the Trachea; and voice box also known as the tonsils, Larynx and Epiglottis. The following are other signs and symptoms of infections that cause sore throats:
- Runny nose
- Body aches
- Vomiting or Nausea
What Causes Sore Throat?
The majority of Sore Throats are caused by viral infections like the Flu or the common cold. Sore Throats may be a symptom of the following conditions or issues:
- Bacterial infection: Bacterial sinus infection and Strep throat are examples of bacterial infections that may cause sore throats.
- Allergies: Allergic reactions to dust mites, pollen, pets or mold can make your throat scratchy and dry. Postnasal drip causes a sore throat due to allergies (when your throat feels scratchy due to nasal discharge). Your throat becomes painfully itchy from the mucous.
- Tonsillitis: The two tiny lumps of soft tissue at the back of your throat are called tonsils. They seize the germs that make you ill. Tonsillitis occurs when your Tonsils become inflamed and infected. Viruses and Bacteria can cause Tonsillitis.
- Acid reflux: Those who have Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) experience throat burning and pain. Heartburn is a pain that you experience when stomach acid backs up into your Esophagus. The tube that carries food from your throat to your stomach is called your Esophagus.
- Overuse or irritants: By screaming or yelling, you can strain your throat. You may also develop a sore throat if you smoke or drink very hot liquids or eat spicy food.
- Mouth breathing: If you breathe through your mouth rather than your nose when you’re sleeping, you may have a Sore Throat.
Prevention of Sore Throat
Avoiding germs that cause sore throats and maintaining proper hygiene are the best ways to prevent them. Some of them are:
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, before and after eating, after coughing or sneezing or after using the toilet.
- Avoid touching your face. Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes.
- Avoid sharing. Drinking glasses, food or utensils
- Cough or sneeze, put it in a tissue, discard it, and then wash your hands. When necessary sneeze into your elbow
- Avoid drinking fountains with your mouth or touching public phones
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers when soap and water are not accessible, as a substitute for cleaning your hands
- Avoid close contact with individuals who are sick or have symptoms
- Regularly clean and disinfect doorknobs, phones, remotes, light switches and computer keyboards. When you clean phones, travel, remotes in your hotel room and light switches.
How are Sore Throats Treated by Healthcare Professionals?
The best way to treat your sore throat depends on what caused it. For instance, If you have a cold and your throat bothers as a result, Dr. Sheetu Singh may suggest over-the-counter medication to treat both your cold symptoms and your sore throat. If you have strep throat, Dr. Sheetu Singh may prescribe Antibiotics to treat the bacterial infection. Additional treatments for particular causes could include:
- Over-the-counter Antihistamine medication: Sore throats may result from PostNasal drip from allergies. Antihistamines may dry PostNasal drip.
- Over-the-counter Antacids: The heartburn and sore throat brought on by acid reflux may be relieved with Antacids. Other measures, such as avoiding large meals just before night, may be helpful.