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Sore Throat - Symptom, Causes, Treatment, Medicine And Home Remedies

Last Updated: Jun 28, 2023

What is Sore Throat?

Sore throat is a Tormentor irritation in the throat that can happen with or without swallowing, regularly goes with contaminations, for example, a cold or influenza. Sore throats can be very annoying and painful. However, the good news is that most sore throats are caused by minor diseases and so they most often go away without any treatments.

Sore throat symptoms:

The first signs of sore throats are :

  • Cold which includes chills
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Runny nose or congestion and hoarse voice
  • Having fever higher than normal temperature 101 F (38.33 C)
  • Fatigue and muscle aches
  • Swelling in the neck
  • Pain or scratching sensation in the throat
  • White patches or pus which forms on the tonsils
  • Tiny red spots at the back of the roof of the mouth which makes difficulty in opening mouth
  • Swallowing and painful neck lymph nodes then you may be suffering from Acute pharyngotonsillitis which may be due to streptococci
  • One may witness blood in your saliva or phlegm
  • Also suffer with gastrointestinal problems
COVID-19 Symptoms: Sore throat is one of the significant symptoms of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) . The other common symptoms are dry cough, fever, shortness of breath and fatigue.

What causes sore throat?


The most common conditions that cause sore throat are:

Bacterial infections that cause sore throats are:

  • Strep throat, which doesn’t occur from congestion and cough.
  • Inflammations caused by tonsillitis and adenoiditis.
  • Peritonsillar abscess, which is an infection of the tissues near the throat.
  • Epiglottitis
  • Uvulitis
  • STD infections like chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea.

Sore throats can also last more than a few weeks if it is caused by an injury or an irritant such as:

  • Throat irritation from smoking, low humidity, yelling, air pollution or because of nasal drainage down the back of the throat.
  • Persistent breathing through the nose because of allergies or for a stuffy nose.
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) whereby stomach acid gets back up into the throat, causing cough and acid taste in the mouth, apart from heartburns
  • Chronic fatigue caused by extreme tiredness over a prolonged period of time.

Is sore throat contagious?

Yes, it is contagious. It can be passed on from one person to another. Usually, the mucus, saliva and the nasal discharge contain the viruses which can cause sore throat. The virus or bacteria can survive for a long time on objects tile towels, brushes or clothing, these contaminated items can spread the disease rapidly.


How a sore throat is diagnosed?

The doctor may check the back of your throat to see swelling, white spots or redness. The doctor may also see the side of your neck to check the swollen glands. If you have a strep throat, doctors may advise you for a throat culture for diagnosis. A doctor will take a swab over your throat and will take the sample to check for bacteria.

When should I see the doctor about a sore throat?

Generally the sore throat is treated at home as there are a lot of home remedies available to soothe sore throat. But if the matter goes out of hand then one must consult a doctor.

In case, the sore throat is severe and lasts for more than two days along with a body temperature of 101 degree celsius, one must consult a doctor. In severe cases the patient might face difficulty in sleeping because of blocked throat due to swollen tonsils or red rashes.

How do I know if my sore throat is viral or bacterial?

Knowing the severity of one’s disease is really important. If you want to know about the type of sore throat you have, you need to pay attention to the symptoms you see in yourself.

If you notice a cough, runny nose or a swollen throat, you have a viral sore throat. On the contrary if you experience nausea, stomach ache, vomiting and no cough, you have a bacterial sore throat.

Can you test yourself for strep throat?

Yes, strep throat tests can be done at home. All you need to do is mix the reagents together and add cotton swab to it. Let everything settle for a few minutes and then add the small stick which comes with the test.

The results depend on the product you are using. One or more small lines will appear on the stick.

It is advisable to consult a doctor for the tests as a layman may not be able to figure out whether the sore throat is viral or bacterial.

What is the treatment of sore throat?

Sore throat treatment:

The treatment for sore throats caused by viral infection doesn’t require medical attention it may go away with time and may last up to one week to ease pain one can take pain relievers. never try to treat sore throats with antibiotics. For unnecessary application of antibiotic medications often leads to an allergic reaction and also side effects like vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, yeast infection and rashes on the skin.

Sore throat caused by bacterial infections may require medical attention and have to take antibiotics There are several Home Remedies that can help soothe swollen tissue in your nose and throat to bring a relief to this illness, etc.

As being said even before that sore throats generally do not need any medications to heal, nevertheless, always visit a doctor if your sore throat lasts more than a week.Also go for a medical checkup if you find difficulty in breathing, joint pain, difficulty in swallowing, an earache, a fever over 101˚F, a rash on your body, bloody mucus or a lump in your throat. Generally hoarseness more than two weeks is not considered a good sign for it can always have serious underlying causes which can even be a sign of throat cancer.

What is the medicine for a sore throat?

The medicines for sore throat are: the medicines may change depending on what type of infection the person is suffering like a viral or bacterial infection. sore throat caused by viral infection doesn’t require medical attention it may go away with time and may last up to one week, to ease pain one can take pain relievers, sore throat caused by bacterial infections may require medical attention and have to take antibiotics until symptoms are gone, one must use full course of antibiotics, OTC medications can help soothe a sore throat.

NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like Acetaminophen treats only pain-relieving, does not have anti-inflammatory properties, and ibuprofen, paracetamol, helps reduces the pain temporarily, throat sprays can provide pain relief and cold symptoms, if you take zinc lozenges every two hours it may ease the cold, inflammation and also helps stimulates the flow of saliva, keeping your mouth moist, etc.

How to prevent a sore throat?

The way to prevent sore throat is to avoid getting sick. Avoid catching the viruses and bacteria that cause a sore throat. Here are some ways to prevent a sore throat:

  • If you have a cold-and-flu, wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Gargle with baking soda solution.
  • Stop smoking as the cigarettes smoke is intensely infuriating to the lining of the throat
  • Start breathing from your nose instead of your mouth as it is a natural way to humidify the air you breathe.
  • Use a humidifier in your room. The moisture will help to keep the air from drying out and averts the lining of your throat from getting too dry.

How do I get rid of a sore throat quickly?

There are a few remedies which can help you get rid of sore throat at home.

  1. Raw Honey:

    Honey is known for its antu-oxidant powers. It raises its amount in the body which helps to boost the immune system. It has been consistently proven for a very long time now as one of the best remedies for sore throat.

  2. Bone Broth:

    Sore Throat makes swallowing of everything very difficult. Bone Broth helps to keep the throat hydrated to ease the swallowing. Along with that it provides the minerals which boost the immune system and prevent the swelling.

  3. Herbal Tea:

    Herbal tea is a well known remedy for treating pain and inflammation. Camomile Tea is filled with the goodness of antioxidants which helps to treat the swelling, pain, inflammation and redness.

Does apple cider vinegar kill the strep throat?

Yes, Apple Cider Vinegar is one of the most effective drinks to treat sore throat. The taste of it might not be favorable but its benefits definitely outweigh.

One cup of apple cider vinegar really makes a difference and soothes the irritated throat. Apple cider vinegar has properties which kills bacteria which makes it a better choice to use as a home remedy for sore throat.

How can I get rid of strep throat without antibiotics?

You can get rid of strep throat without using any antibiotics by taking some home remedies.

  • Gargle with lukewarm water
  • Take rest
  • Increase your fluid intake
  • Take medicines to reduce the fever
  • Take throat lozenges
  • Take decongestant

Sore throat diet:

The burning and uncomfortable feeling caused by sore throat, can make it hard to drink or eat and even to swallow!!! Find out the best things to eat during a sore throat and foods to avoid during sore throat.

What are the foods to eat during a sore throat?

The foods which are easy to swallow and soft are majorly preferred when you have a sore throat. Below are some of the foods which you may want to eat:

  • Warm oatmeal, cooked cereal or grits
  • Gelatin desserts
  • Plain yogurts or with pureed fruits
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Non-acidic juices
  • Scrambled or hard-boiled eggs
  • Turmeric
  • Honey
  • Sage
  • Oatmeal

What are the foods to avoid during sore throat?

In the sore throat, it becomes difficult to swallow some food, which includes:

  • Citrus fruits and juices
  • Crunchy, hard foods
  • Sour, pickled or brined foods
  • Tomato juice and sauces
  • Irritating spices
  • Alcohol

What drink helps a sore throat?

There are a few drinks which help treat sore throat and give a soothing feeling:

  1. Gargling with warm water:

    The first and foremost thing to do when we have a sore throat is gargling with warm water. Add some salt to the warm water and gargle it for 40-60 seconds. It gives a fast and lasting effect.

  2. Warm tea:

    Different varieties of teas have antioxidants which help the sore throat to be at peace. Some teas which are considered to be the best to soothe the throat are:

  3. Apple Cider Vinegar:

    Apple Cider Vinegar is another sacred liquid which might help you to get rid of that irritating sore throat. Now Apple Cider Vinegar may not give you a very good feeling taste wise but it is a very effective remedy for sore throat.

What are the home remedies for sore throat?

The home remedies for sore throat are:

  1. Gargling with salt water helps reduces the soreness
  2. Drinking warm fluids like broth, warm water with honey and lemon and turmeric milk
  3. Suck on raw garlic clove and chew for 15 minutes it has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties
  4. Eat soft foods which can swallow easily, take plenty of rest and sleep
  5. By drinking herbal tea helps you to get enough sleep, taking steam and you can also add cough suppressant to it for the speedy recovery
  6. Sucking popsicle or ice cream also helps to ease the soreness
  7. Taking steaming shower, using humidifier can ease symptoms of cold, sore throat or cough- by breathing in moist air can help soothe swollen tissue in your nose and throat, etc.

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Written ByDr. Goma Bali Bajaj Diploma in geriatric,MBBS,MEM,Diploma In GeriatricGeneral Physician
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