It is officially that time of the year when most people tend to develop sore throats due to the dry chilly winter season.
If you are wondering what a sore throat is and if you need to take it seriously or how to get rid of it, this article will dive deep into all those details.
What is a Sore Throat?
As the name suggests, sore throat is an uncomfortable and painful feeling in the throat that is sometimes accompanied by scratchy and dry feeling.
It is one of the most common issues people face, especially in the winter seasons, or when contracted with a virus of flu.
Sore throats are caused due to environmental factors like cold and dry air, and infections. A sore throat usually gets better and goes away on its own. However, waiting out the uncomfortable feeling can be an issue for most people.
A sore throat is commonly associated with some or all of the below symptoms based on its intensity.
- Pain while swallowing
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Hoarse voice
- Body aches
- Appetite loss
Causes for sore throat
As mentioned above, a sore throat is caused due to infections. However, other factors can also influence it. Below are some of the common ones.
- About 90% of the sore throat cases are caused due to viruses.
- Environmental factors like dry air sucks and dries the moisture from your mouth and throat, leaving it scratchy and irritating.
- Gastroesophageal reflux Diseases (GERD)
- Smoking, air pollution, and exposure to harmful chemicals
- Allergies and bacterial infections
When to see a doctor?
A sore throat usually gets better within a couple of days. However, if you notice that it remains or does not get even slightly better after a week or notice other symptoms like severe pain, high fever, blood in phlegm or saliva, we recommend immediately consult a doctor.
The doctor will perform an examination of your throat or suggests a few tests like swab tests to determine the issue.
Depending on the issue or the intensity, your doctor will provide medicines, and may also prescribe antibiotics in the case of a bacterial infection.
5 tips to get rid of sore throat
As sore throat is not a serious issue in a majority of the cases, it can easily be treated or made less severe with a few tips. Read on to know how.
1. Salt water gargling
It is one of the most common and effective solutions for a sore throat. Gargling with warm and salty water will soothe your sore throat.
Make sure you do not swallow the water after gargling. You may gargle several times a day for quicker alleviation. You may also mix baking soda with the saltwater and gargle to kill the bacteria in the throat.
Studies show that honey has effective healing properties. Mix it with your tea and sip on it to take advantage of its healing properties and cure your sore throat.
However, make sure that you do not put honey into hot teas or water as it will reduce or destroy its properties.
3. Pain relief
Most sore throats cannot be treated with medication as viruses need to run its course before they subside. However, you can always try over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen to reduce inflammation and pain.
4. Drink lots of water
When you have a sore throat, it is important that you keep drinking water to ensure that your body is well hydrated. This eventually will keep your throat lubricated by producing enough saliva and mucus.
You may drink warm water or warm soups and teas to have a soothing feeling. However, make sure that they are not too hot as it will irritate your sore throat further.
Do avoid coffee and alcohol as they will dehydrate your body and throat.
5. Use a humidifier
Use a humidifier to soothe the swollen tissue in your mouth and throat. The moistened air will comfort your sore throat. Humidifiers are available in most retail outlets or pharmacies.
If you do not have the device, you may try taking a warm steamy shower and breathe in the moist air. Doing so will help reduce the swelling and sore throat.
If you are not in the mood for a shower, you can try the age-old steam technique of inhaling the steam from hot water by placing a cloth over your head and the boiling pot. You may include a menthol ointment or a vaporub in the water for better comfort.
However, make sure the water is not extremely hot.
As mentioned above, if the sore throat persists for more than a week or if you find the above remedies of little use, you can always Consult the Best Doctors near you through us.