We have all gone through a sore throat, and more at this time of year. But, what is this pain due to? Today we want to explain to you what is this pain that can be so annoying, why it appears and the most appropriate treatment for it.
The sore throat can be derived from the irritation of the throat, and increases when we do the action of swallowing or speaking. One of the common causes of this pain can be pharyngitis (inflammation of the pharynx).
Signs and symptoms
Although it depends on the main cause, the main signs and symptoms of a sore throat are listed below:
- Pain or itching sensation in the area.
- Pain when swallowing or even speaking. Getting worse in both cases.
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck and jaw.
- Red and swollen tonsils.
- Redness at the back of the mouth.
- Presence of pus in the area of the tonsils.
- A deeper or hoarse voice.
- Bad breath
- Mild cough, sneezing, runny nose.
Symptoms are similar for children, but children may also have a fever, a reduced appetite, and appear less active.
There can be many causes of a sore throat. But in most cases it is a symptom of a viral or bacterial infection associated with a cold or flu (along with other symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose, cough, high fever, headache, and general pain).
Other of the most common causes are:
- Laryngitis (inflammation of the larynx) – causes a hoarse voice, a dry cough and the constant need to clear the throat.
- Tonsillitis (inflammation of the tonsils) – can also cause red or blotchy tonsils, discomfort when swallowing, and fever.
- Strep throat (a bacterial throat infection) – causes swollen glands in the neck, discomfort when swallowing, and tonsillitis.
- Glandular fever (also known as infectious mononucleosis) – causes a feeling of tiredness and fever, as well as swollen glands in the neck.
It can also be caused by something that irritates the throat , such as smoke, gastroesophageal reflux disease (where acid leaks from the stomach), and allergies.
If all of the above are ruled out, there are less common causes that could be an explanation for it:
- Peritonsillar abscess (a painful collection of pus in the back of the throat) – the pain can be severe and can also cause difficulty opening the mouth or difficulty swallowing.
- Epiglottitis (inflammation of the flap of tissue at the back of the throat) – the pain can be severe and can cause difficulty in breathing and swallowing.
These conditions are more serious and should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible.
In order to find the most appropriate treatment, we will have to know very well the origin of this pain. Since it can be of viral origin (virus) or bacterial.
We understand how viral infections that are caused by a virus. Some examples are tonsillitis, pharyngitis or laryngitis. Antibiotic treatment is not effective in these cases, as antibiotics are indicated for bacterial infections. In any case, it is always essential to see a doctor in case of doubt.
Some examples of bacterial throat infections may be strep throat or bacterial tonsillitis. In this case, antibiotics can be effective, as long as it is diagnosed and prescribed by a doctor.
When to go to the doctor?
In principle, it is not necessary to get medical advice if you have a sore throat, as it will go away on its own.
But if the symptoms are severe, if the problems persist and do not begin to improve after a week, if the sore throat appears frequently, or if you have a weak immune system (for example, HIV, you are receiving chemotherapy or you are taking medications that suppress the immune system), it is a good idea to contact your GP.
Generally, a sore throat goes away on its own in a week.
Can’t wait that long? Then you can find relief in these helpful home remedies and medications that will temporarily relieve symptoms until the cause (be it viral, bacterial, allergic, or environmental) is eliminated.
There are many remedies to treat our sore throat, but we have compiled the best ones to relieve your pain.
GARGLE WITH SALT WATER
Salt water can be a good remedy to kill bacteria while loosening mucus and relieving pain. You simply have to mix half a teaspoon of salt in 250 ml of warm water and gargle. You may not have immediate relief, but you will notice it with time and regularity.
Honey is one of the best sore throat remedies due to its natural antibacterial properties that allow it to act as a wound healer, immediately offering pain relief while working to reduce inflammation.
Honey can also kill bacteria and help fight viral infections.
If you are suffering from a bad cough in addition to a sore throat, honey can also act as an effective cough suppressant.
Mix two tablespoons of honey with a glass of warm water or tea and stir well. Drink several times a day as needed. However, keep in mind that honey should not be given to babies under one year of age.
Like salt water and honey, lemon is great for sore throats because they can help break up mucus and provide pain relief.
Also, lemon is rich in vitamin C, which can help boost the immune system and give more energy to fight infection.
Mix a teaspoon of lemon juice in a glass of warm water and drink it for quick relief.
There are many different types of herbal teas that you can try for quick relief from a sore throat. Both clove tea and green tea contain antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to fight infection while providing relief.
Raspberry, chamomile, and peppermint tea are great options for relieving pain and reducing inflammation. Chamomile tea can also serve as a natural lubricant, so if your voice is hoarse and you have difficulty speaking, this may be your best option.
Also, peppermint tea can naturally numb your throat and ease pain.
When choosing the best tea for a sore throat, you may also want to check the caffeine content. When you are recovering from an illness it is important to rest, so it is usually a good idea to drink caffeine-free teas.
An effective treatment for our sore throat is to keep it moist, since dry mouth can worsen our signs and symptoms.
One of the first recommendations is to stay well hydrated with water at room temperature (avoiding excess temperatures).
Also, hard candies can help since they are products that stimulate the secretion of saliva, making us always keep our throats moist.
It may be time to invest in a humidifier. Dry air, especially during harsh, cold winter days, can be the cause of a sore throat. A humidifier will keep the air moist and open your sinuses.
It is also recommended that smokers avoid smoking, or being in the presence of smoky environments until the symptoms disappear. Also, if there is a voice extinction, it is advisable not to force and rest, until it is recovered.
TAKE CARE OF OUR DIET
In the same way that we will take care of our neck, we will take care of our diet, since certain foods can irritate the throat.
Among the main meals we will highlight: spicy foods, acid foods, hot foods, hard or solid foods, spicy foods, caffeinated drinks, dairy products or highly sugary juices.
It is also advisable to avoid any food that may be difficult to swallow. Choose soups, purees, and soft foods until your sore throat has resolved.
However, many of these home remedies may not be effective, so we will always have to consult a health professional to better guide us in the most appropriate treatment of our acute pathology in each case.
As for medicines, we have the Strefen range of products on the market , in the form of lozenges to suck orange or honey and lemon flavor, or in spray format, which are effective for acute sore throats.
They contain 8.75 mg of flurbiprofen , an active principle that relieves pain and sore throat in adults and adolescents from 12 years of age in the case of the lozenge format, while the spray presentation is suitable from 18 years.
It should not be used in case of suffering from gastroduodenal ulcer. Read the directions for these medications and consult the pharmacist. Strefen is a drug from Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare SA
It is also useful to take Ibuprofen or Paracetamol to help temporarily reduce inflammation and relieve pain, with Paracetamol being best for children and for people who cannot take Ibuprofen (note that children under 16 should never take aspirin ).
Antibiotics are not usually prescribed for a sore throat, even if it is caused by a bacterial infection, as they are unlikely to make you feel better any faster, and can have unpleasant side effects.
If the symptoms do not disappear after 3 days, fever, shortness of breath, visible pus plaques in the throat, earache, swollen glands, persistent hoarseness and frequent sore throats, it is advisable to see a doctor.
How to prevent it
A few simple steps can help prevent a sore throat.
- Wash your hands often, even after sneezing and coughing
avoid touching your nose or mouth.
- Do not share food, eating utensils, or drinking glasses.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue, throw it away, and immediately wash both hands.
- Avoid touching public water sources with your mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay away from people if you are sick.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid smoking or being around smoke
A sore throat can be uncomfortable, but it is generally not serious and usually goes away quickly. Home remedies and over-the-counter medications can ease symptoms.
However, if the symptoms are severe, persistent, or if a person has difficulty breathing, they should see a doctor. If it is strep throat, you will be prescribed antibiotics.
Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.