Sore throat is one of the most painful diseases experienced by all of us through the ages. Sore throat, a distressing infection is commonly seen in all age groups from infants to aged persons. The irritation caused by sore throat may be mild enough and it may leave you without any medication. Sometimes the pain persists for several days that it becomes difficult to chew and swallow your own food, sometimes you even might go speechless because of the severe pain. A sore throat usually mentioned as a throat infection or pharyngitis, causes pain in the back part of the throat.
Pharyngitis, a painful inflammation or a viral infection of the throat is the main cause of sore throat. Sore throat occurs in the oral part of the pharynx. Pharynx is the part of the throat that lies below the mouth and the nasal cavity. Sore throat is usually associated with common cold or influenza.
What are the causes for sore throat?
There are many factors that cause sore throat and are also contagious. Bacterial and viral infections are the main causes of sore throat. Allergies and sinus infections can also contribute to the sore infections.
Viruses that cause viral infections like common cold, coughing, nose blowing, sneezing, swollen glands in the neck (lymph nodes), infection of the tonsils (tonsillitis), and mild fever can be some of the common causes for sore throats virally. Mononucleosis, a virus, effluent in causing flu, breathing difficulties is responsible for sore throat infection in extremes. Other viral infections such as mumps, laryngitis (infection of voice box), and measles can also lead to sore throat infections.
Streptococcus and Arcanobacterium Haemolyticum are the common bacteria that causes sore throat infections. Arcanobacterium is the main cause of sore throat in adults. Streptococcus is the bacterium that causes strep throat infection in both adults and children. Inflammation of epiglottis is one of the serious causes affecting sore throat because it becomes difficult for you to swallow food which is usually the function of epiglottis. Inflammation of uvulitis and is responsible for the food to enter into the digestive system.
Other Common Causes:
Throat dryness could be one of the causes for sore throat infections. This may usually occur when your immune system gets heated up due to some changes in climatic conditions. Also smoking or breathing through mouth may lead to excessive nose and throat dryness which is one of the causes for throat infections.
Tumors of tongue, larynx and throat can cause sore throat. You may experience pain radiating to your ear and other symptoms include sudden weight loss, blood in saliva and phlegm that leads to sore throat infection caused by tumors.
Gastroesophagea reflux disease (GERD) is caused by the backflow of food and stomach acids into the esophagus, which is a tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. This in overtime, leads to inflammation, sores and narrowing of the esophagus which is the cause of sore throats.
Allergies and Irritants:
Indoor and outdoor pollution, complications in postnasal drip, yelling, and low humidity can some of the allergic causes of sore throats. Chewing tobacco, drinking alcohol, and intake of any spicy foods irritate the throat and make you feel scratchy and itchy. Also straining your throat muscles by speaking loudly in a noisy environment stresses your throat membranes that lead to irritation.
Cancer/ HIV infections, surgeries such as tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy, sinus drainage, chronic fatigue syndrome (where you feel extreme tiredness) can be the causes of sore throat infections.
What are the symptoms of sore throat?
Identifying sore throat in advance is really tough. As the suffering may occur in any form you cannot easily find out whether it causes sore throat or other common flues. However there are certain symptoms and you can avoid by taking necessary preventive measures.
- The most common symptom is experiencing pain in the throat and sometimes this pain spreads to the ear.
- You cannot swallow the food you take and it is even difficult to open your mouth.
- Severe headaches like migraines in overtime leads to sore throats.
- White patches on your tonsils and in gum areas are some of the symptoms.
- Lump in the neck, suffering with hoarseness for more than two weeks can be said as the symptoms of sore throat.
- Heart burns are the symptoms faced by one if sore throat is caused by Gastroesophageal Reflux.
Home Remedies for Sore Throat:
Initially, instead of seeking a doctor in primary stages it is better if you keep yourself safe at home. Here are the following remedies you can try out at home.
Gargle Salt Water:
Add about a half tea spoon of salt to a glass of warm water. Gargle this mixture for several seconds and spit it. Repeat this gargling at least 3 to 4 times a day and this helps in rehydrating the dry tissues in the throat.
Warm tea with honey:
Add two table spoons of honey to hot water and mix it well. This is one of the best home made remedies to the one who suffers with sore throats. Actually there is no tea here but the mixture is generally referred as honey with tea.
Peel the ginger, slice it and add it to water. Boil the water with ginger in it for 10 minutes. Add lime juice and honey after removing the mixture from the heat. Adding more ginger slices while boiling is suggested. This serves as the effective remedy for sore throat.
Eating raw garlic can reduce the itchy and the scratchy irritation that caused due to sore throat. You need to let the garlic juices coat through your complete throat and mouth but not just by biting the garlic cloves.
Add a half- tea spoon of baking soda to a glass of warm water and drink it. It is one of the simplest remedies to reduce the sore throat pain.
Yes, you made find that trying out pepper would be little difficult because of the spiciness of pepper. But this serves as the best remedy for sore throat. All you need to do is add 4 to 5 shakes of cayenne pepper to a glass of warm water and add 2 to 3 drops of lime juice to it. Gargle this mixture for few seconds and spit out the liquid. Repeat this until you find freshness in your throat.
As dryness and low humidity is one of the causes for sore throat, using a sore throat at your work place or in your room can reduce the suffering.
Drink anything warm:
Of all the simplest remedy is drinking warm liquids. It can be either some warm water or tea. Just have something warm, gargle and spit out.
Home treatment with antacids and other acid- reducing medicines may decrease the pain caused by mild GERD and sometimes it may even prevent the severe conditions.
When to seek a doctor?
As the causes for sore throat may vary from mild to severe it is best if you consult a doctor. Generally, the causes for sore throat are tested in lab by taking the samples of your saliva. If the sore throat persists for more than a week it is better if you visit your nearby doctor.
If home remedies do not work out it means that your throat infection is severe than usual. Here are some of the medicinal ways to treat sore throat:
- If the sore throat is caused by a bacterial infection it is better suggested if you take antibiotics. Remember, antibiotics are to be taken as suggested by doctors. Taking antibiotics unnecessarily may not solve the problem as some bacteria may become resistant to the antibiotics.
- Pain relievers such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen may help you to relieve from the severe pain. Aspirin is not a suggested pain reliever especially if your age is less than 20. Aspirin is taken generally to get rid of the mild fever in adults but not in children and teens as it leads to serious illness called Reye syndrome.
- All these medicines are taken only under the advice of doctors and you should not exceed recommended dose. Taking in excessive amounts would result in other side effects and syndromes which may/may not be cured.
Following these simple measures and carefully taking the medicines would relieve you from the suffering caused by sore throat infections. Increase the intake of citrus fruits in your diet and liquids in order to prevent sore throats and other mouth infections. Hope this article cleared all your ambiguities in minimizing the sore throat affects. If you have any further queries and doubts that hover your mind after reading this article feel free to comment via the comments section.