Sore throat: Causes, symptoms, prevention and treatment

sore throat

Sore throat, also known as pharyngitis, is one of the most common health problems in the world. It can be caused by different factors and has various symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose.

There are also several home remedies and over-the-counter medications that can help eliminate or alleviate the pain, depending on the severity of your sore throat.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes, symptoms, prevention and treatment of sore throat today.

What is sore throat?

Sore throat is a common condition that can be caused by a number of things, including bacterial infections, allergies, viral infections, acid reflux, and environmental irritants.

The most common symptom of sore throat is pain or discomfort when swallowing. Other symptoms may include fever, swollen lymph nodes, headache, and body aches.

Sore throat is usually treated with home remedies or over-the-counter medications. However, in some cases, a more serious condition may be the underlying cause and require medical treatment.

What causes sore throats?

Sore throats are caused by a variety of things, including viruses, bacteria, allergies, acid reflux, and environmental irritants. Most sore throats are caused by viruses, such as the common cold or flu. Bacterial infections, such as strep throat, are less common.

Allergies and acid reflux can also cause sore throats. Irritants in the environment that can trigger a sore throat include cigarette smoke, fumes from wood-burning stoves, chemical fumes from paint thinner or other substances with high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and chemical gases from combustion sources like furnaces or fireplaces.

Sore throats may also be triggered by excessive talking, singing or playing wind instruments for long periods of time.

How to prevent sore throats?

The best way to prevent sore throats is to practice good hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

You can also help prevent sore throats by staying hydrated and humidifying your home. One of the symptoms of a sore throat is dry mouth.

If you notice that you have a chronic problem with dehydration, it may be because you are taking too many diuretics (medications that make you urinate).

Consider drinking more water if this applies to you. Drink enough fluids so that your urine has a light color, and watch for signs of dizziness when you stand up.

There are several over-the-counter medications available for relief from sore throats including pain relievers, cough suppressants, decongestants and antihistamines. Talk to your doctor about which treatment is right for you.

Home remedies for sore throat:

So; how can you treat a sore throat naturally?

Gargling with warm salt water is a time-honored way to soothe a sore throat. Just dissolve 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and gargle away.

Honey is another time-honored remedy for a sore throat. It can help reduce inflammation and has antibacterial properties. Just mix 2 tablespoons of honey with 1 cup of warm water or tea. You can also add a squeeze of lemon for extra flavor. Drink the mixture up to 3 times per day until your symptoms subside.

If you want something more potent, you could make some garlic tea. For every four cups of boiling water, add two peeled cloves of garlic and let steep for 10 minutes before drinking up to three times per day until your symptoms go away.

Hot soup is one of the best home remedies for a sore throat. Cook any type of broth (chicken, beef, vegetable) then spoon it into bowls and garnish with minced ginger root. Or try this traditional Korean recipe: heat up 6 cups of chicken broth, whisk in 4 tablespoons of rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, one sliced green onion and about one pound of cooked ramen noodles. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes then turn off the stove and top with ground black pepper. Yum!

Another great home remedy for a sore throat is apple cider vinegar. Add a half teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to an 8 ounce glass of water and drink three times per day until your symptoms disappear. The acidity in the vinegar will kill off bacteria while the enzymes improve digestion.

Drinking lots of fluids is essential when you have a sore throat because it helps prevent dehydration from occurring too quickly. Plus, it can make swallowing easier.

Citrus juices are especially good choices because they’re high in vitamin C which boosts immunity and helps repair tissues in the body. Have a glass of orange juice with breakfast each morning, sip on iced tea throughout the day and eat fresh fruit like apples or oranges as snacks.

On days when your throat hurts really badly, try hot tea — chamomile works well since it’s soothing on an irritated throat lining.

But avoid caffeine drinks like coffee and energy drinks if you have a headache at the same time, since caffeine may worsen headaches.

You can also try to keep your head elevated above your heart level by propping yourself up with pillows at night.

Avoid laying down flat in bed. Also stay hydrated by drinking plenty of liquids during the day, but avoid alcohol or caffeinated beverages at all costs if you’re experiencing these symptoms.

What medicines should you take for a sore throat?

Research shows that honey can be just as effective as some over-the-counter cough medicines. Drinking lots of fluids is also important for keeping your throat moist and preventing dehydration.

Other helpful treatments include taking painkillers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve pain and using an over-the-counter lozenge or other cold relief medication to reduce inflammation.

In extreme cases, antibiotics may be necessary to fight infection if the sore throat has been caused by bacteria.

The National Institute of Health recommends not consuming anything for 24 hours after taking antibiotics. If your symptoms do not improve within this time frame, consult your doctor.

Use a humidifier at night which can make breathing easier during the night and relieve coughing fits when they happen. You should avoid smoking since it dries out the throat and worsens throat irritation symptoms.

If you think you have strep throat, see a doctor immediately because it’s contagious and without treatment it could become worse.

And remember: there are many reasons why you might have a sore throat, so even if the above remedies don’t work, see your doctor to find out what’s going on!

Conclusion

A sore throat is a common ailment that can be caused by a number of things, including viruses, allergies, and irritants. There are a variety of symptoms that can accompany a sore throat, such as pain, difficulty swallowing, and swollen lymph nodes. There are also a number of ways to prevent sore throats, such as avoiding irritants and staying hydrated. If you do develop a sore throat, there are a number of treatments available to help relieve your symptoms. These include gargling with salt water, taking over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, drinking warm fluids and getting plenty of rest.

Drinking tea with honey can also be beneficial in soothing the throat because it moisturizes dry tissues and helps break up mucus. Keeping hydrated by drinking fluids like water, sports drinks, hot beverages, and apple cider vinegar are good ways to ease discomfort.

Eating foods high in potassium like bananas and apricots may also help reduce swelling in the throat region. It’s important to stay away from food and drink items that can irritate the throat like acidic fruit juices, caffeinated beverages, alcohol, spicy foods, and hard candy. Avoiding these types of food will keep you healthy while you’re experiencing a sore throat.

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