Home Health & Fitness What is Sore Throat?

What is Sore Throat?

It’s a dry, painful, or itchy feeling inside the throat.

Feeling pains inside the throat seem to be a very common symptom. It’s the reason why over 13 million person see the doctor every year.

Majority of sore throats seem to be the product of infections, or an outcome of environmental factors such as dry air. While the throat might go through some discomfort, it normally heals without any medications.

Sore throats can be grouped into types, depending on the affected part of the throat:

  • Pharyngitis attacks the part that is seating at the back of the mouth.
  • Tonsillitis represents a swollen and red tonsils, that soft tissue at the mouth’ back
  • Laryngitis represents a swollen and red voice box called the larynx.

Symptoms of sore throat

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Sore throat symptoms vary according to its cause. A symptom for sore throat could be any of the following:

  • Burning
  • Raw
  • Scratchy
  • Irritated
  • Tender
  • Dry

It seemed to be more painful when you talk or swallow something. Your tonsils or throat may equally appear red.

In some occasions, pus or white patches will develop on your tonsils. Those white patches are more profound in cases of strep throat, which is handiwork of a virus, than it is for sore throat.

Alongside sore throat, it’s possible to experience symptoms such as:

Runny nose

Nasal congestion




Swollen glands around the neck area


Body aches

Hoarse voice


Loss of appetite

Difficulty in swallowing

8 Reasons For sore throats

Sore throat causes vary from injuries to infections. Highlighted below are eight causes of sore throat that are very common.

1. The flu, colds, as well as other virus related infections

Viruses are responsible for almost 90% of sore throat issues. Some of the viruses responsible for sore throats include:

  • Influenza
  • Common cold
  • Measles, a certain illness that is known for causing fever and rash
  • Mononucleosis, an infection that can passed to someone else via saliva
  • Chickenpox, an infection that can cause fever as well as bumpy, itchy rash
  • Mumps, a kind of infection which causes swollen salivary glands around the neck

2. Strep throat as well as other bacterial related infections

A lot of bacterial infections are capable of causing sore throats, with most common being strep throat, a tonsils and throat infection which is engineered by the bacteria, group A Streptococcus.

Strep throat is virtually responsible for about 40% of sore throats among children. Tonsillitis as well as sexually transmitted infection such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea could equally bring about sore throat.

3. Allergies

Whenever an immune system responds to allergy activators such as grass, pollen, as well as pet dander, there is a chemical release that could trigger symptoms such as watery eyes, nasal congestion, sneezing as well as throat irritation.

Too much mucus inside the nose could find its way to the throats back region. This is known as post nasal drip; it’s bound to cause throat irritation.

4. Dry air

When you come in contact with dry air, it could suck up the moisture within the throat and mouth, leaving them to feel scratchy and dry. The air is usually dry within the winter periods when your heater is mostly operational.

5. Chemicals, smoke, as well as other irritants

Several different chemicals as well as other substances within our surroundings do cause throat irritation, which includes:

  • Cigarette as well as other tobacco related smokes
  • Cleaning products as well as other chemicals
  • Air pollution

After the September 11 attacks, over 62% of the fire-fighters who responded reported constant sore throats. Just 3.2% of them had experienced any sort throats prior to the disaster that occurred at the world trade centre.

6. Injury

An injury like a neck cut or contact with the neck could result in throat pains. Getting food particles stuck along your throat could equally cause throat irritation.

You could strain the vocal cords as well as throat muscles by using repeatedly. A sore throat is very possible after talking aloud, yelling, or even singing for long periods. Sore throats seem like a popular challenge that is faced within fitness instructors as well as teachers who need to shout.

7. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

This describes a condition whereby stomach acids find their way back to the tube that transports foods from the mouth down to one’s stomach (oesophagus).

The said acids burns the throat and oesophagus, resulting in symptoms such as heartburn as well as acid reflux – the act of regurgitating acid in your throat.

8. Tumour

A throat, tongue, or voice box tumour appears to be a less popular causative factor of sore throat. Whenever sore throat signals cancer, it will not heal after a couple of days.

Home based remedies for sore throat

There are basically home remedies for sore throat. With plenty of rests, your immune system would equipped with the necessary ingredients to ward off that infection.

To relieve sore throat pain:

  • Gargle a solution of between ½ and 1 teaspoon of salt and some warm water.
  • Get in the habit of drinking warm liquids which are soothing to your throat like hot tea and honey, lemon, as well as warm water. Herbal teas look particularly soothing for sore throats
  • Use cold treats such as ice cream or popsicle for calming your throat down.
  • Suck a piece of lozenge or hard candy.
  • Use your mist humidifier for adding moisture to your surrounding air.
  • Relax your voice till your throat is less stressed.

When to consult a doctor

Virus related sore throat infections doe heal naturally within a period of 2 to 7 days. However, some sore throat causes are to be administered proper treatment.

Consult your doctor should you ever encounter any one of these possibly more severe symptoms:

  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Sore throat that is severe
  • Difficulty in breathing or having pains as you breathe
  • Sore joints
  • Difficulty in having your mouth opened
  • Stiff or painful neck
  • A fever with temperatures as high as 101 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Blood appearing in you phlegm or saliva
  • Earache
  • Sore throat lasting for over 7 days

How sore throats can be diagnosed

In the course of the examination, the doctor would like to know about the symptoms you are having, and would apply a light for checking your throat’ back for any redness, whiteness or swollenness. The doctor may equally touch your neck’s sides to verify the presence of any swollen glands.

Should the doctor suspect a strep throat, you would be administered a throat culture. Your doctor would run a swab across your throat’s back as well as get a sample for testing for the presence of strep throat bacteria. By conducting a quick strep test, all the results should be ready in minutes.

To verify the diagnosis, that sample would be taken to the lab for testing. Lab tests can take between one and two days, however it can surely indicate if you’ve got strep throat.

One some other occasions more tests may be needed to ascertain what caused the sore throat. A specialist who is into treating nose, ear, and throat related diseases is called an otolaryngologist.


You could take medications to make the pain from sore throat to subside, or treat the cause that is responsible for it.

Over the counter medication that reduces throat pain consists of:

  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

Aspirin should never be given to children as well as teenager, because it has been linked with a very rare but sever condition known as Reye’ syndrome.

You could also apply any of these treatments that addresses the sore throat pain directly:

  • Throat lozenges
  • Sore throat spray which comprises a numb-capable antiseptic such as phenol, or a coolant such as eucalyptus or menthol.
  • Cough syrup

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A couple of herbs, which includes slippery elm, licorice root, and marshmallow root, can be found as remedies for sore throat. There doesn’t seem to be much evidence supporting this though. However, a certain herbal tea known as Throat Coast which contains all the three did cause throat pain relief according to a particular study.

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These medications are normally for reducing stomach acid, but they are also to be relied upon for treating GERD caused sore throats.

  • Antacids like Rolaids, Tums, Mylanta, and Maalox help in reducing stomach acid.
  • H2 blockers like as cimetidine (Tagamet HB), ranitidine (Zantac), and famotidine (Pepcid AC) assist in reducing the production of stomach acid.
  • Proton pump inhibitor like lansoprazole (Prevacid 24) as well as omeprazole aid the blocking of acid production.

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Low-quantity corticosteroids could equally assist with sore throat pains, without instigation any serious side effects.

When are antibiotics necessary

Antibiotics are for treating bacteria related infections such as strep throat. They’re not for treating any viral infections.

It is advisable you treat strep throat with any antibiotics so as to prevent the possibility of any complications such as bronchitis, rheumatic fever, as well as pneumonia. Antibiotics could reduce pains associated with sore throat by almost 24hours and reduce your chances of going down with rheumatic fever without virtually two-thirds.

Normally, doctors prescribe a number of antibiotics that could last for like 10 days. It is relevant that you take all the medications inside the container, even when you start feeling better. Not finishing your antibiotics may spare some bacteria that could make you ill again.

The summary

Bacterial and viral infections, as well as injuries and irritants, do cause the bulk of sore throat. Many sore throats heal in a matter of days without taking any medications.

Warm liquids, rests, over the counter pain killers, and saltwater gargles could help in reducing sore throat when you are at home.

Bacterial infections like strep throat and some others can be treated using antibiotics. Your health professional can do a quick test to ascertain whether you’ve got strep.

Consult a doctor if you’ve got some serious symptoms such as difficulty in swallowing or breathing, stiff neck or high fever.



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