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Last Updated: Mar 15, 2022
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Throat Ache: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

About Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment Eligibility Medicines Urgent Care Prevention Side effects Post-treatment guidelines Recovery Diet Cost Results Home remedies Physical Exercises Alternatives

Why does my throat ache?

Throat ache can be caused due to a number of conditions. These are classified into types, based on the part of the throat gets affected. The most common conditions that tend to cause throat pain are laryngitis and tonsillitis.

  • Pharyngitis: Pharyngitis or sore throat is a condition characterized by pain, scratchiness or irritation of the throat that usually worsens when a person tries to swallow. Pharyngitis or sore throat is generally caused by a viral infection such as cold or flu.
  • Laryngitis: It is the condition of swelling and redness of the larynx aka voice box.
  • Tonsillitis: Tonsils are situated at the back of the throat. They are collections of lymphoid tissue and form a part of the immune system. The tonsils trap germs and prevent them from entering your airways. However, the tonsils sometimes get affected and get inflamed and cause a lot of pain in the throat.

What are the symptoms of throat ache?

The symptoms of throat ache or sore throat may vary depending on the underlying cause. However, there are certain common symptoms. Some of those are:

  • Painful throat
  • Scratchy sensation or irritation in the throat
  • Difficulty in speaking and swallowing
  • Hoarse voice
  • Swelling and/or pain in neck and jaw
  • Swelling in tonsils

If an infection is responsible for sore throat/throat ache, then it might cause other symptoms such as:

  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Body aches
  • Fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Chills
  • Loss of appetite
  • White patches or pus in tonsils (in cases of viral infection)

Can Throat Ache go away on its own?

Throat ache which usually develops from the infection of sore throat can get resolved away spontaneously in most of the cases when the symptoms are mild to moderate. A time period of up to one week is required for this. The time duration depends upon the cause and severity of the infection. Application of over-the-counter medicines and home remedies may also prove to be effective in control and management of the condition. In severe cases, consultation with the doctor is necessary.

What are the first signs of a sore throat?

The initial signs of the disease are as common as its symptoms, however, it often takes a drastic turn due to lack of attention and is generally widespread. Here are some of the first signs of sore throat that may help you identify it at early stages:

  • Pain in the throat
  • Feeling of scratchiness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • A hoarse or muffled voice
Summary: Initial signs of sore throat can be a sign of something going on. It is important to see these signs and address the issue on time for early treatment.

What are the causes of throat ache?

Some of the most common causes of throat ache are:

  1. Viral infections: Viral infections are responsible for most cases of throat ache or sore throat. Some of the most common viral infections that lead to the sore throat are the common cold, influenza (or flu). measles, mumps, chickenpox, croup and mononucleosis.
  2. Bacterial infections: Strep throat is a common bacterial infection that leads to a sore throat. It is caused by exposure to streptococcus bacteria. Kids are at a greater risk of strep throat than adults. Other bacterial infections that can lead to the sore throat are tonsilitis, gonorrhoea and chlamydia.
  3. Exposure to allergens: Exposure to certain allergens (pollen, dust, pollutants and pet dander) can trigger an immune reaction that may lead to symptoms including sore throat.
  4. Dry air: Breathing in dry air can lead to depletion of moisture in the throat. Persistent exposure to the dry throat may lead to scratchiness and contribute to a sore throat.
  5. Smoke, chemicals, and other irritants: Exposure to smoke from cigarette, air pollutants and certain chemicals can cause irritation and lead to a sore throat.
  6. Injury: A sore throat may also result from an injury. The throat can be injured by a hit on the neck, talking loudly, or when the food gets stuck while swallowing.
  7. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): GERD is a condition in which the acid moves in the upward direction from the stomach into the oesophagus. This acid damages the oesophagus and throat and lead to symptoms such as heartburn, acid reflux and sore throat.
  8. Tumour: A sore throat may also result from a tumour of tongue, throat or voice box. However, it is a rare cause.

What drink helps a sore throat?

Most of the beverages and other liquid or semi-solid food items are beneficial to give rest to the sore throat. The warmth gives the throat a rest while its form does not hurt the muscles while swallowing. Mention below some drinks that are more effective towards sore throats:

  • Warm water with lemon and honey: While lemon boosts your vitamin C levels, honey helps you soothe the soreness. The drink also strengthens your body as it has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
  • Tea: tea is water/ milk infused with different types of herbs. Water-based teas are more effective than milk ones for the treatment of sore throat. Teas like ginger, peppermint, and chamomile are some of the most effective teas.
  • Soup: It's hard for an individual to swallow food in this case. Soup with less spice is more effective to soothe your throat and maintain your overall physical health.
Summary: Most of the beverages and other liquid or semi-solid food items are beneficial to give rest to the sore throat. The list mentions some drinks that are effective towards sore throats.

How a throat ache is diagnosed?

To diagnose the cause of throat ache or sore throat, your physician may:

  • Ask certain questions related to the symptoms you are experiencing
  • Inspect the throat using an instrument, he or she may also inspect ear and nasal passages
  • Gently examine the neck to check for swelling in lymph nodes
  • Use a stethoscope to listen to breathing

A physician may also take a sample of throat secretions with a swab. The swab is then used for rapid antigen test to detect streptococcal bacteria. Your doctor may also carry out a throat culture test depending on the outcome of the antigen test.

Compared to a rapid antigen test, a throat culture test is more accurate. However, throat culture test takes more time (24 to 48 hours) to provide results while the antigen test gives results within minutes. In certain cases, a molecular test may also be recommended to test for streptococcal bacteria.

When should I see the doctor about a sore throat?

It is important to address the warning signs that are associated with the seriousness of the escalating disease. Sore throat is not just a disease but is also a sign of numerous medical conditions. Here are some of the things that may help you to detect the need of the doctor in case of a sore throat:

  • Red rash
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Fever above 100 degrees for more than three days

Also, in case the signs are frequent, then it is also a good idea to seek advice from your doctor as it can be more than just scratchiness in your throat.

Summary: It is important to address the warning signs that are associated with the seriousness of the escalating disease. some of the things can be done to detect the need of the doctor in case of a sore throat.

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

The cause of this form of throat infection can be both viral and bacterial. They both almost have the same set of symptoms, yet they can be differentiated if you look for the following key points:

  • In case of a bacterial infection:
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Loss of appetite
    • Stomach ache
    • Stomach infection
    • No signs of a cough or runny nose
  • In case of a viral infection -
    • Coughing
    • Running nose
    • Throat swelling
    • Hoarse voice

While bacterial infection can be cured within a day or two, viral infection will take around 14-15 days to fade.

Summary: The cause of this form of throat infection can be both viral and bacterial. They both almost have the same set of symptoms, yet they can be differentiated.

Can you test yourself for strep throat?

Yes, easy-to-use strep throat test kids are available which can be used by anyone who wants to be tested. This test kit may include a cotton swab, mixing cultures, a dropper/ stick, and a device that lets you know the final result.

As per the studies, the accuracy level of the test is 75- 86 percent, which means it sometimes shows false results as well. So even though the results are not positive, you need to visit the doctor for a more accurate diagnosis.

Summary: It is easy to test the presence of strep throat at home with simple kits. However, the accuracy level of the test is 75- 86 percent, which means it sometimes shows false results as well.

How a throat ache is treated?

The treatment for a throat ache usually depends on the cause contributing to that condition.

  • Bacterial infection: If throat ache is caused by a bacterial infections (such as strep throat), then antibiotics may be prescribed by the physician. However, it is extremely important to complete the antibiotic course even if you experience relief from pain and other symptoms. Not completing the course can increase the likelihood of worsening of infection. The same is also true for children. Not completing the course can put a child at an increased risk of severe kidney inflammation or rheumatic fever.
  • Viral Infection: Throat ache caused by a viral infection usually resolves and subsides on its own. Usually, no medication is required to treat throat ache in cases of viral infection. However, pain relief medication such as Acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be taken to ease the pain. Mild paediatric versions of pain relief medications (except aspirin) can be given to kids as well.
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): A physician may prescribe medications that regulate stomach acid to people experiencing throat ache as a result of GERD. Antacids (such as Mylanta, Tums, and Maalox) may be prescribed to neutralise stomach acid. Similarly, medications that reduce or block stomach acid production such as ranitidine, cimetidine, famotidine, lansoprazole, and omeprazole may also be prescribed.

What to do when Throat Ache?

Throat ache is one of the symptoms of the sore throat which is accompanied by irritation and pain in the throat. The pain gets triggered when we try to swallow during deglutition. Though it can be controlled and managed by the application of medicines such as antibiotics or antivirals under the supervision of a doctor, some natural ways of treating the infection proved to be much more effective. Some of the recommended home remedies generally include the following:

  • Warm water gargling with a pinch of salt.
  • Drinking tea such as chamomile tea which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Consumption of spices such as garlic, pepper, and ginger which have a known effect in soothing throat aches.
  • Consuming honey in any of the beverages of our choice. It has a bactericidal action.
  • Apple cider vinegar also has antibacterial action which is helpful in relieving the pain.

How do I get rid of a sore throat quickly?

A sore throat can be very discomforting, especially when you swallow, drink, or just breathe. There are several easy tricks that might help you with it. Here is the list of some that you can try at the comfort of your home:

  • A saltwater gargle: not only the salt will soothe the inflammation, but it also helps you clean and kills bacterial infection infested in your throat.
  • Add moisture in your air: soreness can dry out your respiratory system, leading to difficulty in breathing. Things like room steamers and humidifiers can help you add some moisture to the room for better respiration.
  • Add herbs to your diet: herbs like ginger, clove, basil, and other forms of herbs can be beneficial for your sore throat. You can infuse in anything you eat, however for best effect use it in liquid forms of consumables only.
  • Keep a check on your oral hygiene: often toothbrushes contain germs and other forms of infestations that can worsen your sore throat. Try not to use the same brush during sore throat to avoid any forms of flare-ups.
  • Get Rest: giving your body enough time to rest is important. In case of sore throat, try to speak less and sleep with your head elevated. It will give the right amount of rest to the throat muscles for a speedy recovery.
Summary: Sore throat can be treated very quickly with some care and home remedies alongside your medical treatment. Check how you can get rid of sore throat easily with simple tricks.

Does apple cider vinegar kill strep throat?

There is no medical evidence that can show whether apple cider vinegar is effective on strep throat or not. However, its elements are known to have effective results. For instance, apple cider vinegar creates an alkaline environment that helps you kill some forms of bacterial and viral infection.

But it is not specific that they also kill the bacterial or viral infection in your throat as well.

Summary: There is no medical evidence that can show whether apple cider vinegar is effective on strep throat or not. However, its elements are known to have effective results on an individual body.

How can I get rid of strep throat without antibiotics?

In most cases, one can expect the bacteria to fade within 2-3 days within itself or with the help of some home remedies, however, if not it can go up to weeks. Without antibiotics in this case will increase bacterial growth leading to more complex forms of medical conditions.

Untreated strep throat also weakens your immune system which can cause more problems in your immune system. So it is advised to skip antibiotics if you have a bacterial throat infection.

Summary: In most cases, one can expect the bacteria to fade within 2-3 days, yet in some cases, it can go for weeks. It is important to take antibiotics if your doctor has prescribed you.

Who is eligible for the Throat Ache treatment?

Usually, throat ache gets resolved away spontaneously in most cases related to mild to moderate symptoms. However, some of the cases may need a consultation with a doctor so as to undergo an adequate treatment plan for effective treatment of the impairment. Such cases of sore throat are accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the throat becomes severe during some activities such as eating, sleeping, and even talking.
  • Occurrence of fever which is high up to 101 adegrees Fahrenheit.
  • Inflammation in tonsils is followed by swelling.
  • Formation of pus in tonsils.
  • Difficulty in movement of the head.

Who is not eligible for the Throat Ache treatment?

Throat ache which usually develops from the infection of sore throat can get resolved away spontaneously in most of the cases when the symptoms are mild to moderate. A time period of up to one week is required for this. The time duration depends upon the cause and severity of the infection. Application of over-the-counter medicines and home remedies may also prove to be effective in control and management of the condition.

What are the medicines that treat throat ache?

Medication for a sore throat is usually prescribed by a physician after diagnosing the cause. However, certain OTC medication can provide relief from pain. These medications include aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen.

You can also consider cough syrup, Low-dose corticosteroids, throat lozenges or sore throat spray to get relief from sore throat. However, aspirin shouldn't be given to kids due to the risk of Reye’s syndrome, a rare but serious condition that is associated with damaged brain and liver.

Should I go to urgent care for Throat Ache?

Usually, throat ache gets resolved away spontaneously in most cases related to mild to moderate symptoms. However, some of the cases may need a consultation with a doctor so as to undergo an adequate treatment plan for effective treatment of the impairment. Such cases of sore throat are accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the throat becomes severe during some activities such as eating, sleeping, and even talking.
  • Occurrence of fever which is high up to 101 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Inflammation in tonsils is followed by swelling.
  • Formation of pus in tonsils.
  • Difficulty in movement of the head.

How to prevent Throat Ache?

Throat ache, which is one of the symptoms of sore throat, can be prevented by some of the natural home remedies. Those include:

  • Honey: it has a proven role in the management of cough.
  • Saltwater: gargling with salt water is an effective remedy for throat infections.
  • Chamomile tea: it has medicinal properties such as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions which is helpful for throat ache.
  • Fenugreek: has bactericidal action and may act as a pain reliever.
  • Baking soda: gargling with this solution acts as anti-bacterial as well as antifungal.
  • Apple cider vinegar: having antibacterial action it also relieves ache in the throat.
  • Garlic: it acts as an antibacterial agent and is very effective.

Are there any side effects?

Penicillin, used to treat strep infection, has a number of side effects. They are nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and headache. A person may also experience white patches inside the mouth or throat and a swollen, black and hairy tongue. Antibiotics in general can cause severe diarrhea and stomach cramps.

A person on antibiotics may also experience severe allergic reactions in the lips, tongue, face and throat. Ibuprofen can cause dizziness, nervousness and ringing sensation in the ears in addition to the symptoms already mentioned above. Cough syrups can cause drowsiness, sleep problems, headache and vision problems.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

There are a number of guidelines that a person can follow even after he/she has taken medications to deal with throat pain. A person should drink enough fluids to keep the throat moist, include comforting foods broth, caffeine-free tea and warm water with honey to care for the throat and also gargle with salt water.

He/she should avoid talking too much, use a cool air-humidifier to keep the air moist and avoid coming in contact with irritants like cigarette smoke and other products. Tonsillectomy is generally performed in children. A child undergoing this surgery should take enough rest and also drink lots of water.

How long does it take to recover?

Throat pain due to strep throat can be treated with antibiotics. In this case, the throat pain may subside within 48 hours. A sore throat does not require medications if it is caused by a viral infection. It generally lasts for five to seven days and so the accompanying throat pain will also subside after that period. A child may require about 7-10 days to recover from a tonsillectomy.

What to eat in Throat Ache?

It is very important to know about the food items which are preferable in conditions of sore throat as swallowing food triggers the pain of the throat infection. Hence the food items to be consumed in such conditions should be soft and smooth and easy to swallow. Some of those food items include:

  • Foods and beverages which are warm.
  • Well cooked pasta or macaroni with cheese.
  • Smoothies or shakes preferably of fruits and vegetables.
  • Properly cooked cereals.
  • Yogurt and yogurt containing eatables.
  • Soups that are cream-based.
  • Milk or milk products.
  • Juices that are non-acidic in nature.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Ibuprofen, which is used to treat throat pain, is available within a price range of Rs 15- Rs 230. Tonsillectomy may cost a lot if it is done from a reputed private hospital. The cost of the surgery in such cases will exceed Rs 2 lakhs. Penicillin antibiotic can cost anything between Rs 500 – Rs 1000. Cough syrups to treat throat pain are available within a price range of Rs 100- Rs 200.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Sore throats can be caused due to a number of causes including viral and bacterial infections, allergic reactions to environmental pollutants, dry air, smoke, chemical and other irritants, injury and even tumors. Thus although the bacterial or viral infections can be dealt with quite easily, pain in the throat can recur. This is due to the fact that the triggering mechanisms cannot b controlled so easily. Hence, there are no permanent cures.

What are the home remedies for a throat ache?

Irrespective of the underlying cause, there are certain home remedies that are widely believed to provide relief from the condition. Some of those are detailed below:

  • Rest: Adequate rest and sleep are associated with positive results for people with throat pain.
  • Drink fluids: Increase your fluid intake. This will help in preventing dehydration and maintaining moisture in the throat. Limit intake of tea, coffee and alcohol. You can also try lukewarm water with honey, ginger tea or licorice root tea to soothe your throat.
  • Consider saltwater: Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 240ml of warm water to prepare a saltwater solution. Gargle with this solution to get relief from sore throat.
  • Avoid irritants: Pollutants can irritate the throat and lead to inflammation and pain. Hence, it is important to reduce the indoor levels of smoke and pollutants in your home.
  • Opt for humidifier: Dry air can worsen a sore throat. You can consider using a cool-air humidifier that increases the moisture levels in the air.

Physical Exercises for the people suffering from Throat Ache:

Exercises are preferred in the cases of throat ache depending upon the condition of the infection as well as severity. If the symptoms of the sore throat persist in the region which is above the neck and restricted to that particular area, then it is preferred to do some form of exercise. Such symptoms include throat ache, nasal congestion, sneezing, and watery eyes, in which we can adopt some light form of exercise.

What are the alternatives to the treatment of Throat Ache?

Some of the alternatives to the treatment of the condition of sore throat include the following:

  • Preference of food items and beverages to be consumed - it includes consumption of warm beverages such as tea, broth, or warm water having honey mixed in it. This mixture acts as antibacterial and anti-inflammatory and is very effective.
  • Consuming ice pops is also preferred in the sore throat to provide it a soothing effect.
  • Gargling with warm water containing salts.
  • Proper hydration is needed but caffeine consumption is not advisable.
  • Proper rest is also recommended in such conditions.
Summary: Sore throat can be described as the infestation of infections in your throat. It can be either bacterial or viral. While bacterial growth can be healed within 3-5 days, viral infection can take up to 15 days to heal completely. Sore throat is quite common and can also be cured with the help of home remedies and self-care. But it is advised to seek medical attention as it can lead to serious diseases like rheumatic fever and influenza.

Popular Questions & Answers

My wife pregnant 7 months doctor prescribed ascoril but last 8 days not cured cold and cough everyday steam is going on I also from taken ayurvedic syrup adulsa is safe or not suggest any good medicine.

MBBS, MD Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Masters Cosmetic gynaecology , Diploma In Sonology
Obstetrician, Sonipat
Hi since your wife is pregnant, we wouldn't suggest any cough syrup, not even ayurvedic on your own. You need to consult an ayurvedic doctor before taking even an ayurvedic over the counter drug. Good saline gargles, not too much steam inhalation,...

I am 32 year female I take last abortion pills dose yesterday night and after 10 hour stomach pain and back pain in my body please tell me what I do .the bleed is no stop in my body continue bleed in last 12 hours.

MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology, FCPS, DGO, Diploma of the Faculty of Family Planning (DFFP)
Gynaecologist, Mumbai
After drugs, for termination of pregnancy, it is sonography 15 days later which decides the success of treatment. Not important whether you bleed or not, whether you get pain or not.

Is lower stomach pain normal after 5 days of intercourse and talking ipill on the same day of the intercourse? Does it mean ipill is working perfectly?

MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology, FCPS, DGO, Diploma of the Faculty of Family Planning (DFFP)
Gynaecologist, Mumbai
No relationship of your complaints and effectiveness of I pill after taking the high hormonal emergency pill one gets withdrawal bleeding 5 to 10 days later, and then a new cycle starts. If this does not happen as well as the period is missed then...

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