A sore throat is a pain, scratchiness, or irritation of the throat that often worsens when you swallow. The most common cause of a sore throat is a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu. A sore throat caused by a virus resolves on its own. Strep throat (streptococcal infection), a less common type of sore throat caused by bacteria, requires treatment with antibiotics to prevent complications. Other less common causes of the sore throat might require more complex treatment. Below are essential things that you need to know about sore throat start from the symptoms, causes, and home remedies to ease it.
Sore throat symptoms
Symptoms of a sore throat can vary depending on the cause. Signs and symptoms might include:
- Pain or a scratchy sensation in the throat
- Pain that worsens with swallowing or talking
- Difficulty swallowing
- Sore, swollen glands in your neck or jaw
- Swollen, red tonsils
- White patches or pus on your tonsils
- A hoarse or muffled voice
Infections causing a sore throat might result in other signs and symptoms, including:
- Runny nose
- Body aches
- Nausea or vomiting
Causes of a sore throat
The cause of a sore throat isn’t always obvious. But in most cases, it’s a symptom of a viral or bacterial infection.
A sore throat is often a symptom of:
- Colds or flu
You may also have a blocked or runny nose, a cough, a high temperature (fever), a headache, and general aches
- Laryngitis (inflammation of the voice box)
You may also have a hoarse voice, a dry cough, and a constant need to clear your throat
- Tonsillitis (inflammation of the tonsils)
You may also have red or spotty tonsils, discomfort when swallowing, and a fever
- Strep throat (a bacterial throat infection)
You may also have swollen glands in your neck, discomfort when swallowing and tonsillitis
- Glandular fever
You may also feel very tired and have a fever and swollen glands in your neck
It may also be caused by something irritating your throats, such as smoke, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (where acid leaks up from the stomach), and allergies.
Less common causes
Less often, a sore throat can be a sign of:
- Quinsy (a painful collection of pus at the back of the throat)
The pain may be severe and you may also have difficulty opening your mouth or difficulty swallowing.
- Epiglottitis (inflammation of the flap of tissue at the back of the throat)
The pain may be severe and you may have difficulty breathing and difficulty swallowing
These conditions are more serious and should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible.
Lifestyle and home remedies
Regardless of the cause of your sore throat, these at-home care strategies can help you ease your or your child’s symptoms:
Get plenty of sleep. Rest your voice, too.
- Drink fluids
Fluids keep the throat moist and prevent dehydration. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can dehydrate you.
- Try comforting foods and beverage
Warm liquids, broth, caffeine-free tea or warm water with honey, and cold treats such as ice pops can soothe a sore throat.
- Gargle with saltwater
A saltwater gargle of 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon (1.25 to 2.50 milliliters) of table salt to 4 to 8 ounces (120 to 240 milliliters) of warm water can help soothe a sore throat. Children older than 6 and adults can gargle the solution and then spit it out.
- Humidify the air
Use a cool-air humidifier to eliminate dry air that may further irritate a sore throat, being sure to clean the humidifier regularly so it doesn’t grow mold or bacteria. Or sit for several minutes in a steamy bathroom.
- Consider lozenges or hard candy
Either can soothe a sore throat, but don’t give them to children age 4 and younger because of choking risk.
- Avoid irritants
Keep your home free from cigarette smoke and cleaning products that can irritate the throat.
When to see a doctor
Sore throats that are caused by a viral infection usually get better on their own in two to seven days. Yet some causes of a sore throat need to be treated. Call your doctor if you have any of these potentially more serious symptoms:
- severe sore throat
- trouble swallowing
- trouble breathing, or pain when you breathe
- difficulty opening your mouth
- sore joints
- a fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius)
- painful or stiff neck
- blood in your saliva or phlegm
- a sore throat that lasts for more than a week
Most sore throats get better on their own, within a few days. Bacterial infections like strep throat need to be treated with antibiotics. See a doctor for severe symptoms like trouble swallowing or breathing, a stiff neck, or a high fever. If you stay at Canggu, Bali you can search clinic near me to find the nearest clinic to consult your conditions. Puri Medical is one of the clinics in Canggu that has a professional doctor with great ability in spoken English. This clinic also has a doctor call service that will make it easier to consult and get the right treatment.
Sources: mayoclinic.org, nhsinform.scot, healthline.com