10th Jan, 2023
If you have dealt with the sudden feeling of pain and soreness in the throat, which results in discomfort and ache while swallowing or difficulty in talking, you know how bothersome a sore throat can be. Sore throat refers to a painful, scratchy feeling in the throat. Sore throat may also lead to dryness in the throat area. This condition is one of the most common symptoms of an illness. More than 2% of the adult population seek medical help due to sore throat every year.
A sore throat may start off with a feeling of dryness in your throat. You might also feel a raspy sensation every time you talk. A sore throat also causes a sharp, stinging pain while swallowing or talking, and the pain may also spread to your ears and the side of your neck. Though sore throat can cause a lot of discomfort, it is, however, harmless in most cases. But, if the condition persists for a longer period of time and leads to other symptoms, it is necessary to visit a doctor immediately, as it be the indication of an underlying health condition.
Depending on the part of the throat they affect, sore throat can be divided into 3 types:
Pharyngitis : This type of sore throat causes soreness and swelling in the throat.
Tonsilitis : Causes redness and swelling in the tonsils, the soft tissue in the back of the mouth.
Laryngitis : Refers to the swelling and redness of the voice box, also known as larynx.
Causes of a Sore Throat:
Causes of sore throats can be many, ranging from injuries to infection. Let us take a look at some of the most common causes of sore throat.
Viral Infections such as Cold/Flu: In most cases, viruses that cause the common cold and flu, also cause sore throats. The viral infections that can also result in throat infections include cold, flu, chickenpox, and COVID 19. In fact, sore throat is a common symptom of several viral infections.
Bacterial Infection: Sore throats are mostly caused by viral infections. However, in some cases, bacterial infections can lead to the condition too, albeit rarely. The most common bacteria that causes sore throat is the Streptococcus Pyogenes, which leads to strep throat. Throat infection caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics. If left untreated, strep throat can lead to major health complications.
Allergies: Allergens such as dust, pollen, mould, and pet dander can trigger allergic reactions from the body. This in turn results in sore throat. It might also lead to postnasal drip, which may further irritate or inflame the throat.
Muscle Strain: Apart from infections and allergens, actions such as yelling, talking loudly, or talking for a longer period without a break in between, can strain the throat muscles, which may cause soreness in the throat.
Irritants: Air pollution and exposed to smoke from tobacco and chemicals can also cause sore throat. Certain habits such as chewing on tobacco, consuming excess alcohol, and eating lots of spicy foods can lead to throat infection as well.
Some of the other causes of sore throat include underlying health conditions such as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), and tumours caused by cancer.
Symptoms of Throat Infection:
Though the symptoms of sore throat can vary depending on the cause, some of the common signs are:
Treating Sore Throat:
In most cases, especially when the sore throat is caused by a viral infection, it is usually harmless and goes away on its own. However, it can cause a lot of discomfort and prevent you from going about your daily schedule with ease. But, fret not! Sore throat caused by viruses can easily be treated through home remedies and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. Some of the most common home remedies include:
Among all these remedies, saltwater gargling is the most sought-after treatment for a sore throat. Let us take a look at the benefits of saltwater gargling in detail.
Saltwater Gargling for Sore Throat:
Salt water gargling is a simple, yet effective home remedy for relieving sore throat symptoms. Gargling with salt water can help soothe the inflammation in your throat, reduce the swelling of the mucous membranes, and even prevent infections.
Benefits of Salt Water Gargling:
Salt water gargling can provide a range of benefits for sore throats, including:
Reducing Inflammation: Salt water can help reduce inflammation and swelling in the throat, which can help relieve pain and discomfort.
Fighting Infections: Salt water can help kill bacteria and viruses in the throat, reducing the risk of infection.
Loosening Mucus: Salt water can help loosen mucus in the throat, making it easier to cough it up.
Preventing Dehydration: Gargling with salt water can help keep your throat hydrated, preventing further irritation.
Steps to Follow for Saltwater Gargling:
Step 1 - Mix the solution: Dissolve 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water. Use pure, non-iodized salt, if possible, as iodine can cause irritation.
Step 2 - Gargle: Take a sip of the solution, tilt your head back, and gargle for 15-30 seconds. Try to make the solution reach the back of your throat.
Step 3 - Spit: Spit the solution out into the sink.
Step 4 - Repeat: Repeat the process until all of the solution is used up. It's recommended to gargle with salt water 2-4 times a day, or as needed.
Tips for Effective Saltwater Gargling:
Use Warm Water: Warm water can help soothe the throat and dissolve the salt more effectively.
Don't Overdo It: While salt water gargling can be helpful, overdoing it can lead to further irritation. Stick to the recommended 2-4 times a day, or as needed.
Add Other Ingredients: You can add other ingredients to your salt water solution, such as honey or lemon, to provide additional soothing and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Salt water gargling is a simple and effective home remedy for sore throats. It can help reduce inflammation, fight infections, and provide soothing relief. You can also use a mouth gargle liquid such as the Cofsils Experdine Gargle liquid for throat infection. However, if your symptoms persist or worsen, it's important to seek medical attention.