A sore throat involves pain and irritation in the throat and can be the symptom of a disease. When you try to swallow, the pain gets more intense. The majority of sore throats are a result of viral infections like the common cold or flu. Usually, sore throats heal by themselves over the passage of time –typically five days to one week. It can affect just about everyone, be it a child or an adult. While most sore throats are easy to treat via home remedies or over-the-counter medications, one should seek medical help immediately if they experience difficulty breathing or swallowing.
Causes of Sore Throat
There are several causes of a sore throat, which we can link to several illnesses and environmental factors
Colds and Infections
Several viruses are the primary cause (about 90%) of sore throats. A few viruses that can cause a sore throat include
- Common colds
- Influenza (seasonal flu)
- Measles, an illness that causes fever and rashes
- Mumps, an infection that leads to inflammation and irritation of the salivary glands in the neck
- Chickenpox, a condition that causes itchy, bumpy rashes all over the skin and leads to high fevers
- Mononucleosis, an infection that transmits through saliva
Some people’s immune systems may be sensitive to allergy triggers such as grass, pollen, dander, and other triggers. As a reaction, the immune system emits chemicals causing symptoms such as sore throat, sneezing, nasal congestion, etc.
Excess mucus present in the nose can drip at the back of the throat, also known as a postnatal drip, which irritates the throat.
Dry air can leave your throat dry and scratchy as excess moisture is sucked out, which causes more irritation and leads to a sore throat. Dry air is a common trait in winter months during the peak season and when heaters are running.
Smoke and chemicals
Different substances present in the environment can irritate the throat, some of which include:
- Cigarette and forms of smoke caused by tobacco
- Pollution in the air
- Cleaning detergents and other strong chemicals
You should assess the key risk factors linked to your sore throat to choose an appropriate treatment method. Consider visiting an urgent care center to treat and alleviate your symptoms of a sore throat.