Sore throat is a painful inflammation of the mucus membranes lining the tonsils, pharynx, or larynx and it is often characterized by severe throat pain in the morning and or while swallowing something. It is also known as pharyngitis or tonsillitis and is frequently found to be associated with many conditions like cold or influenza. Sore throat is faced by almost everyone at one time or another and is found to be very frequent during winter.
Patients usually suffer from either acute or chronic type of sore throat. Acute sore throat appears abruptly and lasts for approximately 3 to 7 days, whereas chronic type lasts even after three weeks.
Causes and Symptoms of Sore Throat
Sore throat might be caused due to viral or bacterial infections, or noninfectious environmental conditions. Pharynx is the usual site of infection as viruses and bacteria causing contagious diseases like common cold often settle down at the throat region. Infection might also spread through sharing objects with infected persons.
Viral Sore Throat: Almost 90% cases of sore throat are attributed to viral attack. Different viral attacks could be enlisted as follows:
1. Cold and Flu viruses: These infect our throat and occasionally the tonsil area and the intensity of throat pain could be moderate to severe. In such situation it becomes extremely difficult for the patients to eat, breath, swallow, or speak. Symptoms of this type of sore throat might include runny nose, cough, congestion, hoarseness, conjunctivitis, fever, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
2. Adenovirus: These virus attack lungs and ears causing sore throat which might last for 1 week. The symptoms other than throat pain might involve cough, runny nose, white bumps on the tonsils and throat, mild diarrhea, vomiting, and rash.
3. Coxsackie virus: It might cause herpangina causing severe type of sore throat. Within 3 to 6 days of the viral attack the patient faces abrupt sore throat associated with fever. Minute grayish-white blisters form over the surface of throat and mouth which fester causing small ulcers. This is more prevalent among 10-years-old children and usually arises during summer or early autumn. Symptoms involve severe throat pain which interferes with swallowing, vomiting, abdominal pain, dehydration, and fever.
4. Epstein-Barr virus: This virus infects one specific type of lymphocyte causing mononucleosis. Mononucleosis or kissing disease cause viral sore throat which is quite common in young adults. Patients usually experience the symptoms within 30 to 50 days of the exposure. Mononucleosis involves unbearable throat pain with swelling of lymph gland and an exudative tonsillitis with noticeable redness and swelling of the throat.
Bacterial Sore Throat: Bacterial infections are responsible for 5 to 10% of all the sore throat cases. Most of the cases of bacterial infections are caused by groupA Streptococcus which is also known as strep throat. It is often found in school age children. Symptoms of this type of sore throat mainly involve enlarged and tender lymph glands and reddish, inflamed, and swollen throat, high fever, headache, muscle and joint pains.
Severe sore throat could also be caused by a sexually transmitted bacterial disease, pharyngeal gonorrhea.
Noninfectious Sore Throat: Some sore throats are caused due to environmental triggers.
- Airborne irritants and sometimes postnatal drips due to allergies might cause sore throat
- Hay fever and some allergies might irritate sinuses which result in sore throat
- Inhaling chemical smoke or polluted air or swallowing substances which scratch or irritate throat could cause sore throat
- People who breathe through their mouths while sleeping might face sore throat
Sore Throat Prevention
Unfortunately there is no proper way to prevent sore throat. However it is possible to take protection against getting infected from others.
- Wash hands and other limbs well before touching your mouth
- It is better to keep a safe distance from those who have sore throat
- Do not share food and utensils with others
- Stay away from air pollution or chemical smoke
Home Remedies for Sore Throat
- Take ample liquid everyday. Try to avoid staying in dry weather
- Prepare a warm salt water solution by mixing ¼ tsp salt and ½ cup water and gargle with it several times
- Drinking a glass of hot water mixed with 1 tsp lemon juice and little honey would make you feel better
- A drink of chamomile tea with lemon juice and honey is an excellent home remedy for sore throat
How to get rid of Sore Throat
Cures for Sore Throat
Slippery elm ( Ulmus Rubra): This herb is widely famous for sore throat problem. Extract of this herb contains mucilage, a gel-like matter which is thought to cover the affected throat area mitigating irritation and sore throat.
Sore Throat Remedies
Tulsi (Holy basil): This is a unique herb which improves our respiratory system. It is a strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent which effectively alleviates respiratory tract infections and respiratory stress. It is also useful for catarrh and bronchitis.
Tulsi capsules are extremely useful herbal supplements which are formulated with pure tulsi extracts and immensely useful for bacterial infections in the throat and mouth. It is strongly recommended for sore throat disorder.