Sore Throat 101: Causes, Symptoms & Remedies
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Sore Throat 101: Causes, Symptoms & Remedies

It is pretty common to get a sore throat. You can either get it from a common cold or acquire it as a result of screaming your lungs out while cheering your favourite team during a football match. It is more or less harmless. However, it is also one of the most common symptoms of viral and bacterial infections such as mono, COVID-19, and all, which can make it worrisome and absolutely necessary to be looked into. In this article, we shall look at what a sore throat is, its causes, symptoms and remedies. 

What is a sore throat?

When you experience itchiness, pain, or irritation of the throat, you know you have a sore throat. The primary symptom of a sore throat is pain, which you may experience when you try to swallow. While it can be painful, a sore throat doesn’t last long and usually goes away without any medicines, unless it is a severe infection. The different types of sore throat, based on the affected area of the throat are tonsillitis (redness and swelling of the soft tissue in the back of the mouth), laryngitis (swelling of the voice box), and pharyngitis (a condition that affects the area exactly behind the mouth).

sore throat

Sore Throat Causes

Some of the causes of sore throat are:

  • Viral infections like fever, cough, flu, chicken pox, measles, common cold, mono, COVID-19, among other things. 
  • Different kinds of allergic reactions such as the ones to pet dander, dust, pollen, and molds. 
  • Dry indoor air can cause an irritation to your throat. 
  • Eating spicy foods, drinking cold beverages, and smoking tobacco can inflammate your throat. 
  • Exposure to air pollution can cause a sore throat. 
  • Talking loudly and continuously for a long period of time without any rest can cause the muscles in your throat to strain. 
  • Acid reflux and GERD can also cause irritation to your throat.
  • Bacterial throat infections like strep throat caused by group A streptococcus can cause a sore throat. 

Sore Throat Symptoms

As there are various causes of sore throat, the symptoms are varied as well. The most common signs and symptoms of sore throat include:

  • Pain while swallowing and talking
  • Scratchy throat
  • Swelling and redness of the tonsils
  • Hoarse voice
  • Swelling of the voice box

Natural Remedies To Treat Sore Throat

A sore throat doesn’t always require a doctor’s visit and can very well be taken care of at home. Some of the ways of naturally treating it at home include: 

  • Gargling with salt and warm water is perhaps the best and most effective way of taking care of sore throat. It helps to kill the bacteria in the throat. Take 8 ounces of warm water and add half a teaspoon of salt in it, mix it well and gargle away!
Gargling with salt and warm water
  • Peppermint works wonders on the throat as well. It is known for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties. It contains menthol, which gently tends to numb the tissue in your throat and relieve the burning sensation and irritation in the throat. 
Peppermint
  • Licorice root is a great remedy for sore throat. It is also known to boost the immune system. You can make different preparations with licorice root that can soothe the throat such as ginger licorice tea. Gargling with licorice root syrup and warm water is also known to be effective for the throat. Just sucking and biting this root can help bring down the inflammation in the throat. Additionally, it acts as an expectorant and helps to expel the mucus from the lungs. 
Licorice root
  • Honey is known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and helps soothe the inflammation in the throat. It is known to kill the bacteria and help fight viral infections. The best drink that you can make for sore throat is honey lemon tea. Lemon contains vitamin C which helps break the mucus and manage dry cough, while honey eases throat inflammation and pain. 
Honey
  • Apple cider vinegar is known for its antibacterial properties. Because it is acidic in nature, it helps to break down the mucus in the throat and stop the bacteria from spreading. You can try diluting 1-2 ml of apple cider vinegar in 8 ounces of warm water and gargling with it. You can try using Wellbeing Nutrition’s ACV+ as it is a powerful blend of turmeric, amla, cinnamon and pepper - all very good for the throat!
Apple cider vinegar

You can also try out Wellbeing Nutrition’s Throat Relief Melts, which are formulated using the potent blend of internationally sourced ingredients like Manuka Honey and native Indian herbs and spices like curcumin, ginger, clove, and Holy basil that help to alleviate cold, congestion, sore throat and other respiratory ailments.

If the symptoms are severe, it could be indicative of a viral or bacterial infection. In that case, it is advisable to visit a doctor and start with a course of prescribed antibiotic and antiviral tablets. 

References:

  • Kenealy T. Sore throat. BMJ Clin Evid. 2007;2007:1509. Published 2007 Nov 20. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2943825/)
  • Case-based learning: sore throat, The Pharmaceutical Journal (https://pharmaceutical-journal.com/article/ld/case-based-learning-sore-throat)
  • Sore Throat, Medline Plus (https://medlineplus.gov/sorethroat.html)
  • Satomura K, Kitamura T, Kawamura T, Shimbo T, Watanabe M, Kamei M, Takano Y, Tamakoshi A; Great Cold Investigators-I. Prevention of upper respiratory tract infections by gargling: a randomized trial. Am J Prev Med. 2005 Nov;29(4):302-7. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2005.06.013. PMID: 16242593. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16242593/)
  • Antibacterial and antioxidant activities of Mentha piperita L., Rajinder, Singh Muftah, A.M. Shushni, Asma Belkheir, Arabian Journal of Chemistry, (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1878535211000232)
  • Licorice Root, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, (https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/licorice-root)
  • Role of honey as adjuvant therapy in patients with sore throat, Manpreet Singh Nanda, Shiv Parshad Mittal,, Vipan Gupta, National Journal of Physiology, Pharmacy and Pharmacology, (https://njppp.com/fulltext/28-1478482106.pdf)
  • Vitamin C Levels in Lemons (Citrus Limon) Grown in Zambia; an Opportunity for Utilisation in Fish Feeds, Alexander Shula Kefi, Chrisanty Chama, Lumbwe Kalumba, Ian Bbole, Patience Chungu, Majorie Mbambara, Journal of Agriculture and Life Sciences, (http://jalsnet.com/journals/Vol_3_No_1_June_2016/4.pdf)

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