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What Helps a Sore Throat

Pictures of sore throat, home remedies that tell you what helps a sore throat, symptoms and causes are discussed in this article.

Sore throat occurs when someone acquires some kind of infection that causes the throat to become inflamed. A painful sensation on the throat is present and this causes speaking and swallowing extremely difficult. The condition often clears up after several days even without treatment. Some, though, have recurring bouts of this condition which sometimes coexists with other infections. A visit to the doctor could determine why the condition keeps on recurring.

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Generally, home care treatment is enough to relieve the discomfort and pain caused by sore throat. There are lots of natural home remedies for the condition that have been proven effective. Non-prescription medications could also be used to treat it. However, caution is needed before taking any drugs as inappropriate medications could have dreadful effects instead of providing relief.

What causes sore throat ?

A painful throat is an indication that the mucous membrane along the throat is swollen or infected. The condition is medically referred to as pharyngitis. When something tries to enter the body through the upper respiratory tract, the body responds by sending lots of blood into the area so antibodies and white blood cells can eliminate the foreign invader as well as repair the damage at the same time. This results in the swelling of the blood vessels around the tissue.

There are times when sore throat signals more than just a mild infection. A more severe health problem may be causing it, such as scarlet fever and strep throat. Most cases of throat inflammation are caused by infections by microorganisms:

  • Virus

Viral infection is the leading cause of inflamed and painful throat. Among the offending viruses are the cold virus, Epstein-Barr virus and influenza virus. Viruses that cause chickenpox, measles, mononucleosis and croup can also instigate throat infection.

  • Bacteria

Streptococcus pyogenes bacterium is the culprit for strep throat. Diphtheria and whooping cough could also cause the throat to become inflamed and painful.

Other factors could also cause the throat to swell, including:

  • Irritants and allergens
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Dry internal air during winter
  • GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Muscle straining activities such as yelling and prolonged talking
  • HIV infection and tumors in the larynx or tongue

Incidence of sore throat

High incidence of sore throat occurs among youngsters and children. Adults are less likely to suffer from this condition as they have stronger immunity than children. The condition is common during colder months when respiratory illnesses are at their peak. People with the following conditions are likely to have recurrent bouts of painful and inflamed throat.

  • Allergic reactions
  • Smoking and poor diet
  • Recurrent sinus infection
  • Exposure to irritating chemicals
  • HIV infection and diabetes
  • Steroid treatment
  • Taking chemo drugs
  • Fatigue and stress

Symptoms of sore throat

People suffering from sore throat will have the following complaints:

  • Pain radiating towards the ears
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • High fever
  • Puffy lymph nodes underneath the neck and jaw
  • Swollen tonsils

Aside from these general symptoms, additional manifestations are specific to the type of infection the individual is suffering from. For viral infections, small blisters could be seen on the soft palate and tonsils. In the case of streptococcal infection, affected individuals will have swollen tonsils, bad breath and fever. Complications rarely occur, but these could happen, such as secondary infection, scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, kidney trouble and throat abscess.

Diagnosis of sore throat

The doctor will conduct a physical examination when diagnosing the condition. He or she will look at the throat and check for inflamed lymph nodes. Recurrent bouts of the infection require thorough evaluation and other tests, such as swab test, CBC and allergy test. Some patients might need to be referred to a specialist if a more serious medical condition is suspected.

How to treat sore throat

The condition is always related to common colds and so home care treatment is enough to help sufferers manage the symptoms. Among the effective homecare remedies are:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids and getting enough rest
  • Gargling salt water solution. You can choose to gargle sage, turmeric or raspberry tea as well.
  • Take one tablespoon honey, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and seven ounces of water. Mix all the ingredients and sip the concoction slowly when it is warm.
  • Mix one tablespoon of honey and lemon juice in a cup of water and drink it.
  • Adding moisture into the air by running a humidifier or cool-mist vaporizer
  • Sucking popsicles, hard candy or lozenges
  • Steam inhalations

Moreover, sore throat could also be treated with OTC drugs but, as always, caution should be taken because taking inappropriate medications is dangerous as they can put the patient at risk of developing allergic reactions. For instance, the improper use of antibiotics could harm even the good bacteria inside the body and make some bacteria resistant to antibiotics.

Aside from being cautious about the kind of medications taken, the patient should follow the doctor’s advice regarding the course of taking medications. It has become a practice among patients that once the symptoms of sore throat have disappeared, they will also stop taking the medicines. This practice will allow the infection to spread to different areas of the body or get worse. That is why patients should follow doctor’s counsel to avoid these problems.

Sore Throat Pictures

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