Sore throat

A sore throat can be a royal pain in the throat. Sore throats are usually named for the anatomical site affected. The pharynx the area of the throat directly behind the mouth and soft palate is a common passageway for food, liquids and air. Different parts of your throat can experience pain and soreness as a result of a bacterial infection, virus or inhalation of toxic substances like tobacco smoke. Pharyngitis and laryngitis are two common types of sore throat named after the inflamed parts of the throat.

Causes for Sore Throat

A sore throat can have many causes including:

  • Common viruses, including the viruses that cause mononucleosis and the flu.  Some viruses can also produce blisters in the mouth and throat.
  • Most sore throats are caused by viruses or mechanical causes (such as mouth breathing) and can be treated successfully at home.
  • Sinus drainage (post-nasal drip) from allergic or chronic sinusitis  
  •  Viruses are the most common cause of sore throats. Several different viruses can cause common colds and an upper respiratory infections
  • Breathing through the mouth or smoking can produce throat dryness and soreness.
  • Less common causes of bacterial infections that cause sore throats. Infection of the tonsils or adenoids.
  •  Gastroesophageal reflux disease while lying down or sleeping.
  • Rarely,  sexually transmitted diseases for example, gonorrhea can cause a sore throat.
  •  Bacterial Infection The two most common bacteria to cause a sore throat are Streptococcus (which causes Step throat
  • Health problems, can cause sore throats, for example Cough, Allergies and Tumors
  •  Sore throat appearing after treatment with antibiotics, chemotherapy or other immunocompromising medications may be due to the yeast Candida, commonly known as Thrush.
  • Any direct injury to the throat or neck area can cause a sore throat.
  • A sore throat lasting for more than two weeks can be a sign of a serious illness such as throat  cancer .
  • Sore throats can be caused foreign bodies stuck in the throat, for example, a bone or piece of food.

In very rare cases a sore throat may be caused by an abscess or an infected area of tissue in the throat

Symptoms of Sore throat

  • Pus on the surface of the tonsils (can happen with bacteria or viruses)
  • Other problems that may show up with severe sore throat and that require immediate medical attention involve regular an earache , a rash or a constant fever of 101°F or higher.
  • Redness of the pharynx (the pharynx viewed through the mouth)
  • You may have difficulty breathing, swallowing, or even opening your mouth.
  • Tender and swollen lymph nodes  in the neck (glands)
  • General symptoms may include a scratchy or painful sensation in the throat that gets worse when talking or swallowing
  • Drooling or spitting (as swallowing becomes too painful)
  • Difficulty in Swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing (inhaling can be especially difficult when the passage through the pharynx or larynx becomes too narrow for a normal stream of air)
  • white patches or pus on the tonsils.
  • Vesicles (bubbles of fluid on a red base) in the oral cavity or pharynx may indicate the presence of   coxsackie virus or herpes simplex virus

Other symptoms may include a fever, cough, body aches, headache, vomiting or nausea, sneezing, and a runny nose.

Treatment

There is no cure for sore throats that are due to viral Infection. But most sore throats clear up without treatment within one to two weeks.

  • A physical exam will need to be done to detect the cause of a sore throat. A doctor may look into the throat, ears, and nose using a lighted instrument to check for visual signs of infection or airway blockages. 
  • A throat swab may be needed to detect what type of infection is present. If cultures are sent to a laboratory, results are usually available within forty-eight hours.
  • Viral infections usually do not require medical treatment as symptoms tend to get better on their own within five to seven days
  • Bacterial infections such as strep throat are treated with antibiotics prescribed by a doctor only after a throat swab and proper diagnosis have been made.

Home remedies

There are many home remedies you can use to help soothe the pain and irritation until you recover. Viral infections can be treated naturally with general home care and alternative medicine. If using alternative therapy for a bacterial infection, be sure to take antibiotics at the same time as natural medicine alone may not cure the infection. 

  • Drinking tea or taking herbal supplements such as licorice root, slippery elm, and honeysuckle flower may help soothe a sore throat.
  • Gargling with salt water isn’t an old wives tale-it’s about one of the closest to a cures for a sore throat you can get.
  • These sore throat treatments include inhaling steam, sucking on throat lozenges, gargling with salt water and taking aspirin or acetaminophen for pain. 
  • Let the mixture steep for up to twenty minutes before straining the leaves and sipping on the water.
  • Suck a garlic (garlic is a natural remedy that can kick a sore throat right in it’s painfully swollen thus)
  • Homemade throat lozenges or drops are useful for treating a sore throat without the harsh chemicals or added refined sugar in store-bought brands.
  • Typically a Hot Toddy helps a sore throat -particularly one accompanied by a cold
  • Steam can ease a sore throat-particularly one that hurts due to dryness-shorten its duration, and make it easier to breathe if you’re congested.
  • Cloves were often used to help ease pain in the mouth (such as toothaches) and throat.

The next time you feel your throat starting to get painful, use any of the above as soon as possible.

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