Sore throat can be a big pain in your hind parts. It feels like a persistent mosquito that seems insignificant but is a big source of your irritation. Most of the time it is neglected as an onset of cold and it is rarely seen as something other than what it is – A mere discomfort of a couple of days.
Don’t take your sore throat lightly. Sore throat is a precursor to different ailments so it is not necessarily the common simple cold. For the same reason it is advised not to depend on any antibiotics, unless your physician has specifically prescribed them to you.
What Causes a Sore Throat
Not one, but many things can cause you to spend your time wishing you could get rid of that burning rashness of throat. Both bacteria and viruses are deemed responsible for a sore throat. It will depend on what is to follow.
Cold or flu, the most common reason for a sore throat is caused by virus. Viral sore throat has no cure except to sit it out and let it run its course.
Strep throat is the most commonly occurring condition that causes sore throat via bacteria. Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria is responsible for it. It is usually seen among kids from the age of 5 – 15 years. If not given proper treatment, this condition may turn fatal.
Other bacterial ailments include tonsillitis, diphtheria and whooping cough.
The environment around you plays a big role in determining the soreness of your throat. If you are allergic to pollen grains, mold, pet dander or other allergens, an exposure to them can trigger postnasal drip. In a postnasal drip, the mucous builds up on the rear end of your throat resulting in irritation that causes inflammation.
Other factors include dry air, cigarette smoke, pollution or even talking for a long duration.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Sore throat is one of the symptoms in gastroesophageal reflux disease. It is a digestive ailment in which the acid in your stomach gushes back into the esophagus. Apart from sore throat it causes nausea, heartburn, hoarseness etc.
Other factors for sore throat, in extremely rare cases, include Cancer and HIV.
Home Remedies to Cure Sore Throat
A sore throat is normally nothing to be worried about and can be cured by a plethora of home remedies. Some of them include-
- Gargling: The universal remedy to soothe the throbbing pain in your throat. Salt gargles are amongst the most widely sought home remedy in this condition. High concentration of salt draws out the excess fluid (edema) in your throat, thereby providing an in hospitable environment for the bacteria to multiply.
- Lozenges: Many lozenges include menthol or peppermint oil that will give you a temporary relief to your throat from the irritation and soreness. It would be unadvisable to give this lozenge to a kid.
- Steam Shower: Indulge in a hot steam bath and inhale deeply. Steam will help reduce the inflammation in the throat, and ease your pain.
- Tea: Drinking ginger root tea with honey will give you a momentary relief. Take it after your meals before going to bed and you can have a good nights sleep.
- Over the counter medicines: The cough drops and other over the counter medications like Advil are anti-inflammatory and provide a temporary relief.
Since most of the sore throats are virus borne, therefore, antibiotics won’t work on them. The virus has to run its course.
When to Visit a Doctor
While these simple home remedies are able to alleviate the inflammation of your throat for a while, you must visit a doctor if it lasts for more than a week or any other of the following symptoms-
- Problem in breathing and swallowing
- Pain in your ears
- High fever (more than 101°F)
- A lump in throat
- Blood in mucous
- Prolonged hoarseness
The road to prevention starts with practicing extreme caution in your day to day activities. A number of innate reasons of a sore throat lie in spreading of infection. There are certain measures you can undertake to cull any further chances of it spreading like washing your hands regularly for one. Other preventive measures include-
- Don’t share the utensils you are using to eat and drink.
- Minimize your contact with bathroom knobs and other surfaces that are often touched.
- Incorporate using a sanitizer after washing your hands.
- Limit your exposure to allergens like pet dander or pollens and try and avoid a passive smoke.
- Using a humidifier at home.