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Throat Pain: Causes, Treatments & Home Remedies

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By Apollo 24|7, Published on- 30 January 2023, Updated on - 23 November 2023

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Throat pain commonly occurs due to bacterial or viral infection and rarely due to other underlying conditions. Therefore, knowing the root cause of throat pain is essential for optimal recovery. While the commonly encountered throat pain undergoes remission with home remedies, consulting a doctor is advisable if the symptoms worsen. This article talks about the various causes, symptoms, red flags, treatment, and specific home remedies for throat pain.

Causes of Throat Pain

Throat pain that occurs quite often and affects multitudes is commonly known as a sore throat. The causes include but are not limited to the following:

  • Viral infections: Influenza, Epstein Barr, and Covid-19 virus cause throat pain, pharyngitis, laryngitis and associated symptoms.
  • Bacterial infections: The most common bacterial origin of sore throat is strep throat, caused by infection from Streptococcus pneumonia bacteria.

Throat Pain Symptoms

Common symptoms of throat pain include:

  • Severe pain with swallowing
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Fever with chills
  • Headache with an occasional body ache

Treatment Plan for Throat Pain

It is essential to explain the causative factor behind treating throat pain and prescribe medication accordingly.

1. Diagnosis of Throat Pain 

Your doctor takes a detailed history of your throat pain symptoms, which will help him to investigate further and order tests to confirm a probable diagnosis.
When an infective source is suspected, a  throat culture test confirms the source of infection.

2. Medication 

The doctor will prescribe antibiotics for throat pain from bacterial infection. The rest of the medicines will be prescribed as per the symptoms.

3. Home Remedies of Throat Pain

Here are 4 top home remedies for symptomatic relief from throat pain:

  • Honey Tea: Honey tea is one of the most common home remedies for throat pain. It is prepared by mixing a teaspoon of honey and ginger juice in a glass of hot water.
  • Salt Water Gargle: Adding one to two teaspoons of salt to a glass of lukewarm water and gargling with it helps relieve a dry, itchy throat. It also helps to break down the thick mucus and kill the bacteria. 
  • Chamomile Tea: It is prepared from chamomile leaves having medicinal properties. Warm chamomile tea is anti-inflammatory, provides antioxidants and is an astringent for sore throat.
  • Garlic: Garlic has been of medicinal value since ancient times owing to its anti-bacterial properties. In addition, studies have shown garlic consumption daily keeps sore throat at bay and promotes the health of the upper respiratory tract.

Red Flags

If symptoms of throat pain worsen with time and do not undergo remission with home remedies, consider the following symptoms as red flags:

  • A sore and painful throat that lasts for more than a week.
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • "Hot Potato" voice
  • Sore joints
  • Difficulty in opening the mouth and breathing

Other Causes of Throat Pain

  • Allergies: Exposure to pollen, grass, and other allergens unique to an individual may cause excess mucus production in the throat leading to throat pain.
  • Acid Reflux: Acids produced in the stomach may travel up to your throat when produced in excess. This condition is known as Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
  • Chemical Irritants: Benzene in smoke and paint and phthalates in air fresheners may trigger an inflammatory response causing excess mucus production and subsequent throat pain.
  • Dry Air: Dry air is hungry for water and may suck out moisture from your mouth and throat, leading to a sore throat. It can also trigger excess mucus production, causing a sore throat and discomfort.
  • Injury: Injuries in the throat can cause throat pain. Injuries can be in the form of food getting stuck or physical strain of the vocal cords while singing or shouting, leading to throat pain and associated symptoms.
  • Tumour: Cancerous growths in and around the throat and neck causing throat pain and discomfort may be warning signs.

FAQs

1. Why does a sore throat get worse at night?

Your throat produces excess mucus in response to an infection, particularly at night. This mucus irritates your throat, causing an increase in soreness at night.

2. Why does a sore throat hurt when you swallow?

Discomfort while swallowing in sore throat signifies inflamed tonsils due to infection. 

3. Is Azithromycin good for throat pain?

Azithromycin helps relieve your sore throat and discomfort, but it is advisable to consult a physician or an ENT specialist before consuming this drug.

4. What should you avoid eating with a sore throat?

You must avoid refrigerated food and cold beverages when suffering from a sore throat.

5. How long does a sore throat last?

A sore throat of viral origin usually resolves within 3 to 10 days of the onset of symptoms. But, a bacterial infection may last longer.

If throat pain persists after following the home remedies, one should consult an ENT specialist without further delay. Throat pain associated with other symptoms like fever, body aches, swelling in the neck, and weight loss needs medical supervision. Persistence and worsening symptoms are red flags and may be a medical emergency. For more information,

Consult An Apollo ENT

 

Medically reviewed by Dr Sonia Bhatt.

General Health

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