What is a sore throat?
A sore throat is pain, itchiness, or irritation of the throat that often worsens when you swallow.
Sore throat is typically caused by infection with any one of a large number of viruses or less commonly bacteria.
· The most common source of a sore throat (pharyngitis) is a viral infection, viral illnesses that cause a sore throat include:
- Common cold
- Flu (influenza)
- Mono (mononucleosis)
- Croup — a frequent childhood illness characterized by a harsh, barking cough
· Occasionally, sore throat can have other causes such as, excessively dry air (e.g. from air conditioning), allergies, irritants (e.g. tobacco smoke, pollution), voice strain or gastro-esophageal reflux disease (where acid from the stomach rises into the esophagus (food pipe) and throat).
· Strep throat (streptococcal infection), is a rare type of sore throat caused by bacteria, it requires treatment with antibiotics to prevent complications. Similarly, other less common causes of sore throat might require more complex treatment.
· Cancerous tumors of the throat, voice box(larynx), or tongue can cause a sore throat. Other symptoms or signs may include hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, noisy breathing, a lump in the neck, and blood in saliva or phlegm.
· Drinking alcohol, chewing tobacco and eating spicy foods also can irritate your throat
· Symptoms of sore throat depend on what caused it in the first place. However, they are some general symptoms, such as:
1. Gradually increasing pain in the throat
2. A feeling of itchiness in the throat while speaking
3. difficulty swallowing
4. sore or swollen glands in the neck or jaw area
5. swollen red tonsils
6. a lowered voice
7. coughing, sneezing, and a runny nose
8. a fever
· infections causing a sore throat might result in other symptoms and signs, including:
3. Runny nose
5. Body aches
7. Nausea or vomiting.
· If you are suffering from a strep throat, white areas or patches of pus will form on the tonsils. These white patches or areas are more common in strep throat than in a sore throat caused by a virus.
Treatment and home remedies:
· In the case of a bacterial infection, such as strep throat, a doctor may prescribe an antibiotic.
· Sore throats due to a viral infection typically start to improve within 7 days and do not require medical treatment. Acetaminophen mild pain relievers may help with the pain and fever.
· If investigations reveal a tumor or any another cause, the doctor will discuss appropriate treatment options with the individual.
· Gargle with a mixture of salt and warm water.
· Drink warm liquids that feel soothing to the throat, such as soup broth, hot tea with honey, or warm water with lemon.
· Cool your throat by eating a cold treat like an iced tea or ice cream.
· Turn on a cool-mist humidifier to add humidity to the air.
· Rest your voice until your throat feels better.
· Dilute peppermint oil sprays may also relieve sore throats. Peppermint contains menthol, which helps calm sore throats and coughs and thin mucus.
· Garlic is also known to have natural antibacterial properties and can fight off infections. Thus, adding fresh garlic to your diet can soothe and potentially cure a sore throat.
· Similar to garlic, apple cider vinegar also has many natural antibacterial uses. Because of its acidic nature, it can be used to stop bacteria from spreading and help break down mucus in the throat. You can dilute 1 to 2 tablespoons of ACV in one cup of water and gargle with it, whenever symptoms of sore throat start to show themselves.
Some simple steps can help to prevent a sore throat.
· avoid touching your mouth or nose.
· wash hands frequently, including after coughing and sneezing.
· do not share drinking glasses, eating utensils, or food.
· Limit your mouths contact with public drinking fountains
· sneeze or cough into a tissue, throw it away, and instantly wash both hands.
· avoid close interaction with people who are sick and stay away from people if you are sick.
· avoid being near smoke or smoking.
When should you be worried?
· If your child shows the following symptoms, you should immediately take him to the doctor.
· Has difficultly breathing and swallowing
· However, if you are an adult you should look for these symptoms before contacting a doctor
· Trouble swallowing
· trouble breathing
· trouble opening your mouth
· frequent sore throats
· a fever of 101 F or higher, that doesn’t get better within 24-48 hours
· swelling in your face or neck
· symptoms and signs of dehydration, such as dry mouth and passing less urine than normal.