We’ve all experienced pharyngitis, more commonly known as a sore throat: a painful, itchy, or even burning sensation at the back of our mouths. A sore throat can make it difficult to concentrate, sleep, breathe, and eat. More often than not, a sore throat is a symptom of an underlying illness which can range from anything as innocuous as the common cold to something as serious as HIV or cancer. Because there is such a wide variety of illnesses a sore throat can point to, it’s important to see a medical professional when you experience this symptom. You can get treatment right way, or at least rule out serious illnesses and get peace of mind.
What is a sore throat?
A sore throat is any pain, discomfort, or swelling in the throat. The pain may be present all the time, or only noticeable when swallowing or speaking. There may be visible signs of a sore throat as well, such as swollen glands in the neck and/or jaw, white patches or spots on your tonsils, or red and swollen tonsils. Sore throats may be accompanied by other symptoms of illness, such as headaches, body aches, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, vomiting, or fever.
What causes a sore throat?
A sore throat can be caused by a virus or bacteria, and it’s important to distinguish between the two so you can pursue the best course of treatment. A sore throat is a common symptom of a multitude of illnesses ranging in severity. An allergic reaction to food, animals, pollen, mold, and more can cause throat irritation. Dry weather, dehydration, and muscle strain from yelling or talking too much could be the cause of your throat pain. A sore throat can also be symptomatic of the flu, HIV, cancer, and more. Because your sore throat could have so many underlying causes, some of them quite serious, it’s important to seek professional help to determine why you are experiencing throat pain.
How to Manage Your Sore Throat at Home
If you are looking for a quick fix for your sore throat or a diagnosis for why it hurts, you should visit your local urgent care. The doctors there can quickly help you get to the bottom if your illness and help you treat it. In the meantime, if you are looking to manage your painful symptoms at home, there are a few remedies you can try. Get plenty of rest and drink lots of water and other healthy fluids, such as juice, smoothies, broth, and tea.
You can try frozen or hot liquids like popsicles or soup to soothe your throat as well. Warm water with lemon and honey can ease throat pain. Gargling saltwater, hydrating the air with a humidifier, and avoiding smoke and other irritants can also help. If your sore throat doesn’t improve, go to your local urgent care for diagnosis and treatment.