The commonest cause of a sore throat is viral infection, such as, influenza. Sore throat occurring due to a virus more often than not settles on its own. Bacterial infection is a less common cause and needs management with anti biotic medications. Other less common causes of the condition may necessitate more complex treatment.
Sore throat is characterized by pain, discomfort and irritation in the throat; which tends to get aggravated when you swallow. Occasionally, the terms pharyngitis and sore throat are used interchangeably.
Sore throat is a rather commonly seen medical condition which can be easily managed with certain home remedies.
What Causes Sore Throats?
By and large, a sore throat is caused by virus; less often, sore throats occur because of bacterial infection.
Viral infections include:
- Common cold.
- Soreness caused by group A Streptococcus.
- Whooping cough.
Other causes include:
- Allergies: an allergy to molds, dander, dust and pollen triggers sore throat.
- Dryness: Dry air, particularly in winter, can make the throat scratchy and sore, more so in the morning when you get up.
- Breathing through the mouth: due to chronic nasal congestion also causes sore throat.
- Irritants: tobacco smoke or chemicals as well as outdoor pollution can cause chronic sore throat.
- Muscle strain: shouting and screaming, talking to someone in a noisy environment or talking for a prolonged period of time causes soreness and hoarseness.
- GERD: gastro esophageal reflux disease, wherein, the contents of the stomach regurgitate in to the esophagus or food pipe triggers hoarseness, soreness and heartburn.
- HIV: an HIV-positive person may have a chronic or recurring sore throat due to a secondary infection.
- Cancer: malignancy of the throat, larynx and tongue causes a sore throat.
Sore Throats Symptoms
Common symptoms of a sore throat include:
- Soreness, scratchy sensation or discomfort and pain in the throat.
- Aggravates on talking and swallowing.
- Difficulty in swallowing.
- Dryness in the throat.
- Swollen and tender glands in the neck.
- Swollen, red tonsils.
- Hoarse voice.
- Denial to eat (in infants).
Certain accompanying features include:
- Runny nose.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Body pain.
Natural Remedies For Sore Throat
The following guidelines and home remedies will help manage a sore throat effectively:
- Give your voice adequate rest.
- Consume lots of water and fluids to keep the throat moist.
- Warm liquids will help soothe a sore throat successfully.
- Gargling with warm water to which a pinch of salt has been added is decidedly beneficial.
- Likewise turmeric is useful too. Boil 1 teaspoon of powdered turmeric in a bowl of water. Use this water to gargle; at least 3 to 4 times daily. Turmeric soothes an irritated throat and fights infection as well.
- Ginger tea is widely recommended to manage a sore throat. Grate about 1 inch of ginger in a bowl of water. Add 1 tablespoon of honey and consume twice every day. Ginger battles inflammation and soreness; and also treats related symptoms such as fever, swollen glands and hoarseness.
- Use a humidifier to do away with dry air that can further worsen a sore throat