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Woman smiling -throat | Healthier Me Today

We all have experienced a sore throat a couple of times throughout our lives. But unfortunately, there is a very long list of what can cause this discomfort. 

Ranging from slight irritation from post nasal drip to potentially dangerous illnesses, the ailments for this resistant yet delicate body part has affected humans since the dawn of time. Luckily with new age medication and advancements in the medical sense, we have many treatments and much more knowledge surrounding these common complaints.

Just as there is an abundance of throat-related illnesses, there are the same amount of causes to match! Being such a frequently used part, there’s no wonder it’s left vulnerable to all sorts of symptoms and complications. 

What Effects a Sore Throat?

There are quite a lot of sicknesses that will affect the throat. Some of these only affect the throat. Being in the position it is and having the functionality it does gives way for easy access to bacteria, viruses, and infections. Although some can be mild, others can be much more severe, sometimes even requiring surgery.

  • Viral infections such as the flu, colds, measles, chickenpox, mumps, and mononucleosis
  • Strep throat and other bacterial infections
  • Dry air
  • Allergies
  • Smoke 
  • Chemicals
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

These are the more common causes of throat irritation and can be treated relevantly easy and quickly. 


A sore throat in itself is a persistent symptom of other ailments. It can, however, be the main problem sometimes and will have its own set of symptoms which are usually;

  • Burning sensation: This is when your throat feels very sensitive, and every time you swallow, it feels like it is on fire.
  • Scratchiness: This is a prevalent symptom and is often the start of a sickness such as flu.
  • Irritated: Often, we feel a tickle in our throat, which makes us cough as a reflex to rid this sensation. Itching is also classified as irritation and commonly occurs during an allergy flare-up.
  • Raw: Perhaps one of the most painful of the bunch. When your throat feels natural, almost everything, either coming out or going down, triggers the pain. This is when it is susceptible, and even swallowing saliva can be unbearable. 
  • Tender: Usually, your throat will feel tender at the start of a cold or another sickness. It is an early warning sign or a symptom of still overcoming being sick.
  • Dry: Having a dry throat can be quite a nuisance. No amount of water will stop your throat irritation!

You may also experience a wide variety of other symptoms that coexist with having a sore throat. This will often happen when you contract a viral or bacterial infection. Some of these other symptoms can include;

  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Nasal congestion 
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Swollen neck glands
  • Runny nose
  • Coughing 

When to get medical help

Although this may not sound like a call for alarm and is a very common irritant many people experience, there are some vital signs to watch as these could indicate severe illness or complications. Make sure to look out for these 10 warning signs;

  1. Earache
  2. Fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit 
  3. Difficulty breathing 
  4. Blood in saliva
  5. Sore joints and muscles
  6. Trouble swallowing 
  7. Struggling to open mouth  
  8. Severe painful throat
  9. Pain in the chest when breathing.
  10. Sore throat lasting longer than a week

Treatment Option You Have

If you arent experiencing severe pain and don’t experience any other concerning symptoms, then you can most likely cure it yourself with some of these home remedies;

  • One of the best ways to help get rid of bacteria is to gargle salt water—mix ½ to 1 teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water. Repeat 3 times a day until you no longer have uncomfortably. 
  • To help soothe the burning sensation, try eating popsicles and other cold treats. Beware of ice cream as this could cause phlegm.
  • Hot tea with honey will be soothing and healing for your pain.
  • Suck on hard candies and lozenges.
  • Try not to speak when you can to rest your throat and voice.
  • Adding moisture in the air can help with the irritation that dry air causes. You can do this by turning on a cool-mist humidifier.

For more severe cases, it is advised to see a doctor. They will most likely prescribe one or more of the following to treat your symptoms.

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen (Advil) 
  • Cough syrup
  • Lozenges
  • Antiseptic throat spray 


  1. Is a sore throat contagious? Yes and no, it solely depends on the cause. If it is due to allergies or dry air etc., then no, it cannot be spread. However, if it is due to a virus or bacteria, it can be contagious.
  2. Why do I get a sore throat at night time? This is quite common and depends on your environment. For example, does your heater or fan get turned on at night, or are there other irritants that appear in the afternoon? These will irritate at night time.
  3. Is strep throat common? Strep throat depends on your age. It is more common amongst children over 3 years old and teenagers.

Healthier Me Today is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment. Always consult with your healthcare professional. Stay healthy!

Ask Doctor Carol

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