Don’t let a sore throat shut you up – Relieve that and speak out.
Is it painful to swallow? Does your throat feel scratchy? Its most probably a sore throat (Pharyngitis)— a symptom that can be due to non-serious diseases like cough and cold or concerning diseases like COVID-19. Lets find out what are the common causes of sore throat, how to know whether your sore throat is due to a virus or bacteria and the best ways to manage it.
Main Causes of Sore Throat
1. Viral infections
Viruses cause 85-95% of adult sore throats and 70% of sore throats in children aged 5 to 16′. Common cold, flu (influenza), measles, chickenpox, COVID-19 are all viral illnesses that may cause sore throat as a symptom.
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A sore throat can be one of the first symptoms that appear on infection with the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Don’t delay testing. Isolate and get tested immediately.
2. Bacterial infections
In some cases, sore throats can be a result of bacterial infections. Strep throat is the most common bacterial infection that can cause sore throat. In this, the throat and tonsils get infected by Group A Streptococcus Bacteria.
3. Allergies & irritants
Being allergic to pollen, pet hair, dust, molds, etc. can also cause sore throat. Additionally, some people may develop an itchy throat due to alcohol, air pollution, tobacco smoke, or chemicals.
Smoking or chewing tobacco can also irritate the throat and cause chronic sore throat. Soothe your throat by giving up tobacco in all its forms.
4. Certain health conditions
Sore throat may also occur due to acidity or gastroesophageal reflux disease in which the stomach acids travel back to the throat. HIV and cancerous tumors are some of the serious diseases which may cause sore throat as an initial symptom.
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Sore Throat Symptoms. Bacteria or Virus?
Symptoms of Viral Sore Throat
- Runny nose
- Hoarseness or changes in your voice that make you sound breathy, raspy, or strained
- Conjunctivitis or pink eye
- May last for 5-7 days
See Also: Coronavirus and Pregnancy: What You Should Know
Symptoms of Bacterial Sore Throat
- Sore throat that can start very quickly
- Red and enlarged tonsils, in some cases with white patches or streaks of pus
- Tiny red spots on top of the mouth
- Enlarged lymph nodes in front of the neck
- Pain when swallowing
Symptoms of sore throat, whether caused by viruses or by bacteria, can often be similar. Consult an expert and let them decide your treatment.
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Home Remedies for a Sore Throat
- Drink plenty of water and fluids like warm herbal tea to keep your throat hydrated. Drinking warm water with honey and lemon may also help soothe the itchiness.
- Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon salt in 1 cup of warm water’ Use this water to gargle as this can help reduce inflammation and pain.
- Avoid smoking as it can irritate your throat further.
- Adults may find relief by sucking on lozenges and hard sweets. Avoid giving it to kids as lozenges and hard sweets may get stuck in their throats.
- Use a humidifier or vaporizer to add moisture to the air in your room, especially when you’re asleep.
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With plenty of rest and the right actions, a sore throat is often a mild symptom that’s easily manageable and curable. In case it turns severe, and persists over a long period of time, connect with a doctor.
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