Sore Throat, Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors
A sore throat is a scratchy and painful sensation in the throat. It also refers to an irritation feeling that often gets severe when swallowing or consuming food. It is one of the most common health concerns that peaks during the colder months or frigid conditions of the year.
Sore throats affect different parts of the throat. They are also divided into three major types. These are as follows:
- Pharyngitis – This condition refers to a viral infection that triggers inflammation of the tissues and structures of the pharynx. It is the most common type of sore throat.
- Tonsilitis – As its name suggests, this condition affects the tonsils (the two masses of tissue in the back of the mouth). Its typical signs include redness, swollen tonsils, and difficulty swallowing.
- Laryngitis – This condition occurs when the vocal cords become irritated from overuse or infection. Its symptoms are hoarse voice, fever, cough, inflammation in the front of the neck, and trouble swallowing.
What are the symptoms of it?
Symptoms of a sore throat can vary depending on what causes it. The following are the generally known signs and symptoms of the condition
- Painful feeling in the throat
- Burning sensation in the tonsils
- Trouble swallowing
- Dry and irritated throat
- Swollen glands (near the jaw or neck)
- Swollen, red tonsils
If a particular infection causes a sore throat, the following symptoms can happen:
- Fever or chills
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Body pain
- Weakness or tiredness
What causes a sore throat?
A sore throat can happen because of infections and injuries. Below are major contributing factors that lead to the development of sore throats:
- Viral infections – HIV viral infection is one of the leading causes of sore throats. Some of these infections include the flu, COVID-19, mumps, measles, chickenpox, the common cold, and mononucleosis.
- Bacterial infections – Strep throat is a bacterial infection that makes the throat sore and scratchy. It is accompanied by symptoms like appetite loss, swollen lymph nodes, white patches on the throat, and red, swollen tonsils.
- Injury – Overusing the vocal cords can lead to a sore throat. Repeated yelling or shouting can cause damage to the vocal cords, leading to irritation and inflammation.
- Inhaling chemicals – Other symptoms associated with it include acute cough and congested nasal passages. What contributes to these conditions is inhaling chemical irritants from tobacco smoke, cleaning products, and air sprays.
- Allergies – Allergies not only trigger nasal congestion or sneezing, but also irritate the throat leading to a sore throat. Ninety percent of people with allergies reported experiencing sore throat alongside other hypersensitivity symptoms.
It can happen to anyone; however, several factors play a role in the condition’s development. These are as follows:
- Seasonal – Some health conditions peak during a particular season. This is best suitable for a throat, which frequently happens during winter.
- Poor hygiene – If you have poor hygiene, you are prone to infection. It is the same thing with acquiring episodes of sore throats.
- Vocal strain – People who overuse their vocal cords can quickly get this disease. As mentioned, one of the major causes of the condition is vocal injury.
- Environmental circumstances – Because of too much pollution, our environment has become our number one enemy, especially acquiring respiratory diseases.
How to manage with it?
There are several remedies that you can use at home in the absence of prescriptive drugs. You can relieve a sore throat by doing the following:
- Gargle with warm water. Adding a teaspoon of salt is better to provide more therapeutic relief to the throat.
- Some warm beverages are soothing to the throat. Your options include a soup broth or a hot tea mixed with honey.
- Since a sore throat is often dry, eating ice cream can cool and moisten your throat.
If your sore throat is a result of vocal injury, rest your voice until the inflammation gets better.