A sore throat is pain, scratchiness or irritation of the throat that often worsens when you swallow. The most common cause of a sore throat (pharyngitis) is a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu. A sore throat caused by a virus resolves on its own. Sore throats are divided into types, based on the part of the throat they affect:
- Pharyngitis affects the area right behind the mouth.
- Tonsillitis is swelling and redness of the tonsils, the soft tissue in the back of the mouth.
- Laryngitis is swelling and redness of the voice box or larynx.
Sore throats can be caused by viruses or bacteria. The most common causes of sore throats are viruses. Viral sore throats are often accompanied by other cold symptoms that may include a runny nose, cough, red or watery eyes, and sneezing. Other causes of sore throat include smoking, pollution or irritants in the air, allergies, and dry air.
The common symptoms of sore throat are:
- Runny nose.
- Body aches.
- Nausea or vomiting.
Any affecting organ?
Once the virus or bacteria enters your nose or mouth, your body will try to do its best to fight it off. The viral cells will replicate and attack certain parts of the body. If your immune system can’t conquer the virus completely, then the virus may enter the bloodstream and cause the pain and soreness of your throat and other symptoms of the particular illness. Certain areas of the throat may even swell, like your tonsils, which is a sign that your immune system is still in the fight to destroy the invading cells.
You can treat most sore throats at home. Get plenty of rest to give your immune system a chance to fight the infection.
To relieve the pain of a sore throat:
- Gargle with a mixture of warm water and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Drink warm liquids that feel soothing to the throat, such as hot tea with honey, soup broth, or warm water with lemon. Herbal teas are especially soothing to a sore throat.
- Cool your throat by eating a cold treat like a popsicle or ice cream.
- Suck on a piece of hard candy or a lozenge.
- Turn on a cool-mist humidifier to add moisture to the air.
- Rest your voice until your throat feels better.