It is common to have a sore throat, especially children and teenagers. This is because most young people have not yet built up their body immunity system against the causes of sore throat. For the most part, a sore throat should be nothing to worry about. It is a condition that is caused by minor illnesses. They usually pass within a short period of time, preferably three to seven days. Furthermore, you may not have to take any medicine for the condition. However, they can also be painful and quite annoying. In this case, you may have to take painkillers and only consult a doctor when the pain does not seem to go away.
What is a Sore Throat?
A sore throat is usually a raw, scratchy feeling that you get often in the back of your throat. It is also called as pharyngitis. For the most part, the pain can be very irritating. One of the ways that you can know what is causing the pain in your child is to ask the child to open up their mouth. This way, you will be able to see clues as to why the child is in such discomfort.
There are various causes of sore throat. Therefore, you need to be aware of what each symptom means. The most common causes of this condition are seasonal allergy, cold dry air or the child may be developing a cold. It may also be a case of strep. This is a bacterial infection. However, only a doctor can be able to diagnose that it is strep and not merely a common cold.
Most common sore throats subside after a few days. However, if you have a persistent pain, you should have your doctor check on what could be the problem.
Causes of Sore Throat
There are two main causes of sore throat. These include bacterial and viral infections. Another cause of this condition can be irritants or injuries like allergies or an injury to the throat. However, this is a very rare occurrence.
The most common viral infections that can cause sore throats include:
- A common cold, which is a common type of viral infection
- Laryngitis or an infection of the voice box
- “The Kissing disease” or mononucleosis (mono)
- Other viral infections e.g. mumps or influenza
Bacterial Infections include:
- Tonsillitis, an inflammation or infection of the tonsil
- Epiglottitis, an inflammation of the epiglottis
- Uvulitis, an inflammation of the uvulva
- Sexually transmitted diseases e.g. Gonorrhea or Chlamydia
Injuries and accidents that can cause sore throats include:
- Throat irritation from smoking, air pollution or yelling
- Breathing through the mouth while having an allergy or stuffy nose
- An injury like a cut or puncture at the back of your throat caused by falling on a pointed object in your mouth.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
Symptoms of Sore Throat
The most common way to establish whether you have a sore throat or not is the pain you feel at the back of your throat. At the start of the problem, it may be a small irritating rawness feeling in the back of your neck. However, this builds up to a more painful irritation that may even affect the way you eat or drink liquids. When checking on the symptoms, you should know that each cause of infection has its own symptoms. Therefore, you may have to know some of the probable causes of such a condition and what their symptoms may be. Nonetheless, there are those signs at occur at a regular basis. This way, you can make out the cause of the condition without being a medical practitioner.
The common signs that you have sore throat include:
- Swollen glands – These are tonsils, which are found at the back of your throat, mainly behind the tongue. They often swell in the occasion you have a sore throat.
- Tender tear gland – It is possible for your gland to become enlarged and feel tender when touched
- Painful feeling at the back of your throat – This is occasioned by a raw, scratchy feeling that has a tender feeling over a period of time.
- Discomfort – This is a common symptom, especially when it comes to swallowing
Most of these symptoms will be accompanied by other signs. These may also help you establish whether you have a sore throat or not. They include:
- High temperatures
- Running nose
- Aching muscles
These are merely the symptoms that you are in the initial stages of a sore throat. For the most part, they will subside after three or seven days. To get rid of the pain and the irritation you could get over the counter painkillers. This will reduce the pain and other symptoms such as the headaches and coughs.
How Will You Know it is Time to Visit the Doctor?
Although it is easy to treat sore throats without going to the doctor, there are cases where you will have no choice but to get medical help. This is usually in cases, where the condition does not improve after seven days. You will know it is time to get to a doctor when:
- Even with the medication you still experience high temperatures that are persistent.
- It has been more than two weeks and still there is no improvement in your condition.
- You have difficulty breathing or you produce a high pitched sound as you breathe.
- You have severe pain in your throat
- You keep getting frequent sore throats that do not seem to go away even after taking painkillers.
These are conditions that can be causes by epiglottis or quinsy. The latter is a painful collection of pus at the back of your tonsil and the wall of the throat. It is only a general practitioner who can correctly diagnose what is the problem before recommending the best medical treatment. In this case, the doctor may have to take blood tests in addition to looking at the back of your throat.
Home Remedies for Sore Throat
The most common cause of sore throat is a viral infection that can be treated by antibiotics. However, taking antibiotics is very much discouraged. This is because it is possible for your body to become immune to the medication. It is for this reason why home remedies are recommended. Most of these remedies work, especially for sore throats caused by a virus. Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies yourself!
- Salt Water– Gargle salty warm water to relieve the discomfort and reduce the swelling at least once each hour
- Fluids– Take in more fluids to prevent dehydration like hot tea or soup and water. This helps sooth the irritation
- Humidifier– Install a humidifier in your bedroom. The warm and cool mist will sooth your swollen air passage and makes you conformable.
- Try This– If you cannot install a humidifier use a shallow pan to provide warm moisture in the air.
- Avoid Smoking– Avoid smoke or using tobacco products.
- Try These– You need to first and foremost try immune boosters like echinachea, Oregon grape or goldenseal. This is because they are good for your health when you have sore throat especially, if it is caused by flu or cold and the will also prevent any other infections.
- Try This– You also need to go for mucilaginous herbs that are essential or treating sore throat. These are herbs that contain mucilage that form a slippery substance when mixed with water and it offers a soothing effect that helps to cure inflammatory problems caused by sore throats.
- Marshmallow– Marshmallow root is also another effective herbal remedy for sore throat that you can also go for. You just need to get the marshmallow root and chew it or drink its juice as it helps cure coughs and also get rid of cold.
- Try This– You can also take raspberry or blackberry leaves and combine them with marshmallow juice for the soothing effect that will help get rid of sore throat and related conditions.
- Cayenne– Cayenne pepper is the other effective herbal remedy for sore throat that you should go for. It is a great cure as it helps stop pain and for it to work effectively, you need to add to your gaggling mixture and gaggle a number of times.
- Slippery Elm– Slippery elm is also a helpful remedy for sore throat that you can also try. You can find it in capsule form or you can use the inner bark of the slippery elm tree and mix it with water. It helps to reduce throat irritation.
- Try These– Other herbal remedies for sore throat that you can use are honeysuckle flower, sage, honey tea and licorice root herb to name but a few. They are readily available in the market you just need to get them from the best herbal store.
Diet for Sore Throat
For a sore throat caused by a virus it is easy to get foods that can be used to reduce your discomfort.
- Salty water – Gargle warm salty water as frequently as possible and be careful not to swallow the mixture as it can cause stomach ache.
- Honey and Lemon – Next to salty water these two are the easiest food based remedies for sore throat. Honey will help soothe the irritation in your throat. If you have a cold, lemon will help break up the mucous.
- Ginger – Take shredded ginger is warm water two times or more in a day. It can also be used to ward off congestion.
- Soup – Chicken soup is a traditional remedy that helps prevent your white blood cells from causing inflammation in your throat.
- Cold foods – ice cream and any other cold foods will help numb the pain and make you comfortable for short period of time.
- Fluids – Water and any other fluids are often recommended because they help ease your sore throat and prevent you from getting dehydrated.
- Soft foods – If you have difficulty swallowing you can use soft foods like soup, mashed potatoes and apple sauce. You could blend your fruits to make then easy to swallow.
Prevention of Sore Throat
One of the reasons why it can be difficult to prevent yourself from getting sore throat is because it can be caused by either a virus or bacteria. The best you can do is to prevent it from spreading.
- Wash your hand properly and regularly before handling food, especially after you touch your nose and mouth.
- Clean surfaces near your regularly to keep them free from germs
- Avoid sharing cups, plates and kitchen utensils with others
- When you sneeze do it into a tissue, through it away and wash your hands
- If you smoke, you can stop the irritation to your throat by giving up smoking
Sore throat is a common occurrence because it can be caused by viruses and bacteria. For this reason, it may be difficult to stop yourself from getting infected. If you realize you have this condition it is good to start with home remedies before seeking medical attention. This is because there are many home remedies that can help soothe your irritation and make it easy for you to ease the healing process. However, if the symptoms persist and the pain does not go away after two weeks, you should consult your doctor. It is good to avoid taking over the counter medication until the doctor has made the correct diagnosis to your condition.
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