Saturday, December 7, 2013


A sore throat refers to pain, itchiness, or irritation of the throat. You may have difficulty swallowing food and liquids, and the pain may get worse when you try to swallow. Throat pain is the primary symptom of a sore throat. However, other symptoms may include a dry throat, swollen glands in the neck, white patches on the tonsils, and hoarseness.

Sore throats are common, especially in children and teenagers. This is because young people have not built up immunity (resistance) against many of the viruses and bacteria that can cause sore throats. The risk of a sore throat is higher in some people like smokers, allergy sufferers, and people with a compromised immune system. Sharing a close space with others also increases the risk of upper respiratory infections that can present initially as a sore throat.

Symptoms and Signs of a Sore Throat:

A sore throat is itself a symptom of some infection. This is usually an infection of the upper respiratory tract, such as the common cold, laryngitis, sinusitis, tonsillitis, and more serious conditions such as diphtheria and influenza. In most cases, a sore throat is simply the symptom of a common cold, where the soreness is the result of irritation of the throat and pharynx from the nasal fluids

-swollen tonsils (two small glands found at the back of your throat, behind the tongue)
-enlarged and tender glands in your neck
-a painful, tender feeling at the back of your throat
-discomfort when swallowing

If you have a sore throat, you may also experience other symptoms associated with common infectious conditions, such as:

-a high temperature (fever)
-aching muscles
-a headache
-a cough
-a runny nose

These other symptoms will depend on what infection is causing your sore throat.

Causes of Sore Throat

Viral Infection:
The majority of sore throats are triggered by a viral infection. 
These are infections caused by a virus, such as the cold and flu.

Other types of viral infections include:
Mononucleosis: infectious disease typically transmitted through saliva
Measles: contagious illnesses characterized by a distinct rash and fever
Chickenpox: infection that causes skin sores
Croup: infection of the larynx

Bacterial Infection:
A bacterial infection can also cause a sore throat. These types of infections include:
strep throat: inflammation of the throat caused by the Streptococcal bacteria
diphtheria: infectious disease that causes throat inflammation
whooping cough: disease of the respiratory mucous membrane

Acid Reflux (Gastrointestinal):
Acid may also cause your sore throat. This is a digestive condition characterized by the back flow of stomach acid into the esophagus. This condition causes an array of symptoms, such as a sore throat, hoarseness, heartburn, and nausea.However, frequent irritation of the throat caused by acid reflux can also lead to a sore throat.

Environmental Factors:
Not all sore throats are viral or bacterial. There are several other causes of throat pain. If you’re allergic to mold, pet dander, pollen, or other irritants, exposure to these allergens can trigger post-nasal drip. This is when excess mucus accumulates in the back of your throat. This accumulation can irritate your throat and cause pain or inflammation.

Dry air can also make your throat feel raw and scratchy. Smoking cigarettes or exposure to cigarette smoke can trigger persistent sore throats, as well as throat strain from yelling or too much talking.

Other Causes:
In very rare cases, a sore throat may be a sign of HIV or throat cancer.

Prevention of a Sore Throat:

Many underlying causes of sore throats are infectious, and there are certain steps you can help you prevent future infection. Repeatedly washing your hands throughout the day kills germs and bacteria that can cause viral and bacterial infections. Additional steps that you can take to prevent a sore throat include:

Do not share drinking glasses or utensils with others.
Use hand sanitizers whenever soap and water are not available.
Limit contact with commonly touched surfaces.
Reduce exposure to allergens, such as pollen, dust, and mold.
Avoid cigarette smoke.
Keep a humidifier in your house to eliminate dryness.

Remedies for Sore Throat

A sore throat is a common ailment usually caused by infection with any one of a large number of viruses or less commonly bacteria. It is a common ailment during the winter season. However, during the summer, air conditioning can dry out your throat and produce sore throat.

Here are a few natural remedies for sore throat:

- If sore throat is accompanied by fever have raw garlic throughout the day. It's a natural antibiotic, effective against bacteria and viruses. Garlic may not be great for your breath, but it may compensate by helping cure a sore throat. You can take a single clove of garlic and chew on it for a couple of hours. The chewing should be very light ? just enough to release the chemicals inside the garlic, not to crush it completely.

- Clove oil spray is also effective against cold. It not only numbs the pain but will also kill any germ that might aggravate your condition. Clove oil is also a natural antibiotic, with the added bonus of immediately bringing relief from the pain.

-Chamomile tea is also one of the best swollen throat remedies, and is another treatment that you can repeat several times a day.

- The famous old-time remedy is to have chicken soup. A homemade broth of chicken, including the skin, with loads of garlic, is effective for throat pain, flu symptoms and colds.

-A water salt water gargle is one of the oldest and possibly the best - cure for a sore throat. Simply heat a glass of water, add some salt to it, gargle, and spit. You should do this first thing in the morning and last thing before you go to bed. If you can squeeze in a couple of gargles through the course of the day, so much the better.

-When it comes to age-old home remedies for an irritated throat, the honey and ginger mixture is another great one. Simply take a small piece of ginger, crush the juice out of it, mix it with a teaspoon of honey, and swallow. Some people also recommend adding a few drops of lemon juice to this remedy.

Another remedy for a sore throat remedy is a mixture of honey, apple cider vinegar, and warm water. You need a tablespoon each of the honey and vinegar in a small glass of hot water. This is to be consumed, not gargled with.

Sometimes dryness can make a sore throat feel worse than it really is. Simple remedies such as steam inhalation can help in such cases. Steam inhalation will also clear your nasal passages, thus reducing the postnasal drip that is causing or aggravating the sore throat. If you can control it, avoid sleeping with your mouth open ? this is a common cause of a dry, and therefore sore, throat.

Alcohol does dehydrate the body, but in small amounts it might actually work as an effective sore throat treatment. Whiskey on the rocks is of course ruled out, but you can have a peg of whiskey straight up, or else add it to a glass of warm water and sip it slowly. This will not only ease the pain, it will also fight the infection to some extent.

Diet for Sore Throat

Although a sore throat and the other accompanying symptoms might ruin your appetite, it is important to keep eating healthy. If nothing else, have a bowl of chicken soup or mixed vegetable soup. You can keep sipping hot drinks and soups through the day ? these will nourish you while simultaneously soothing your throat and clearing your nasal passages. Plenty of fluids will also keep your body hydrated and your throat moist and lubricated.

Suggestion for Sore Throat

Apart from these natural remedies don't forget to check on your body temperature. If your cold is accompanied by fever, do fix an appointment with a doctor.

In most cases, a sore throat is a minor problem, and home remedies, along with a little rest for both your throat and your body, will help you recover quite quickly. However, if you get recurrent sore throats or if a sore throat lasts for more than a week, you should get yourself checked by a doctor. A visit to the doctor is also advisable if the sore throat is accompanied by more serious symptoms, such as fever and body aches.

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