If you have a sore throat, the back of your throat feels scratchy and uncomfortable. Your throat may also feel as though it is on fire. You can have a strong ache in your throat when swallowing or speaking if your sore throat worsens. You can get pain in your neck’s side or your ears. A significant issue can arise from a sore throat. For instance, a scratchy throat that persists for longer than two weeks might be a sign of throat cancer. One COVID-19 symptom is a sore throat. However, a painful throat frequently indicates less serious conditions.
Apart from throat pain, sore throat symptoms may include fever, headache, upset stomach, swollen lymph nodes, nasal congestion (stuffy nose), runny nose, cough, fatigue, and hoarseness. The majority of sore throat symptoms disappear in a few days. If your sore throat persists for more than a week, grows worse, or you experience symptoms like fever or enlarged lymph nodes, you should see a doctor.
Sore throats are divided into types, based on the part of the throat they affect. Pharyngitis causes swelling and soreness in the throat. 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.
What Causes Sore Throat?
Numerous factors can result in sore throats. If you want to know why sore throats happen, here are ten of the most common causes of throat soreness. Read on as we’re giving you more information about the causes of sore throats ranging from infections to injuries.
Strep throat and bacterial sinus infections are examples of bacterial infections that may cause sore throats. An infection of the tonsils and throat known as strep throat is brought on by a kind of bacteria called group A streptococcus (group A strep). A painful throat and acute inflammation are symptoms of strep throat. The illness is often diagnosed by a doctor using a throat culture or a quick strep test. Antibiotics are frequently used in treatment. A sore throat or cough might result from post-nasal drip, which is a condition where too much mucus drips down the back of your throat as a result of a sinus infection.
Sore throat is usually caused by a viral infection. Among the viruses that cause sore throats are the common cold, influenza — the flu (a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs), COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease is an infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus), mononucleosis (an infectious disease that’s transmitted through saliva), measles (an illness that causes a rash and fever), chickenpox (an infection that causes a fever and an itchy, bumpy rash), and mumps (an infection that causes swelling of the salivary glands in the neck).
Your throat may become dry and itchy as a result of allergies to mold, dust mites, pets, or pollen. Postnasal drip causes sore throat due to allergies (when mucus from your nose drips down the back of your throat). Your throat becomes irritated and hurts from the mucous.
The two tiny masses of soft tissue at the back of your throat are called tonsils. They trap the germs that make you sick. When your tonsils become infected and inflamed, tonsillitis develops. Tonsillitis can be brought on by viruses or bacteria.
Those who have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) experience throat burning and pain. Heartburn is a pain that develops when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. The tube that moves food from your throat to your stomach is called your esophagus. Over time, GERD can cause damage to the esophagus and even heighten your risk of cancer—so make sure to speak to a doctor or a K provider if your heartburn is severe or ongoing.
Drinking hot beverages, or eating spicy meals can all cause sore throats. Many different chemicals and other substances in the environment irritate the throat, including any type of smoke, including tobacco smoke air pollution, cleaning products, and other chemicals, and aerosolized sprays, such as air fresheners.
Dry air can suck moisture from the mouth and throat, leaving them feeling parched and itchy. When exposed to cold and dry air, the lining of the nose becomes irritated and inflamed, and it produces more mucus, resulting in nasal congestion. The excessive mucus drips into the throat and irritates it.
Injury or Overuse
There are specific injuries that can hurt the throat. Additionally irritating your throat is getting food trapped in it. The throat muscles and vocal cords become fatigued after prolonged use. After shouting, speaking aloud, or singing for an extended amount of time, you may experience a painful throat. For instance, among teachers and fitness instructors who frequently yell, sore throats are a typical complaint.
If you breathe while you’re sleeping through your mouth as opposed to your nose, you can wake up with a sore throat. People who have sleep disorders tend to sleep with their mouths wide open. Snoring is also closely connected with mouth breathing, which can make your mouth dry and your throat scratchy when you wake up.
A tumor of the throat, voice box, or tongue is a less common cause of a sore throat. When a sore throat is a sign of cancer, it doesn’t go away after a few days.
Though anyone can get a sore throat, several factors can increase your risk. Some common risk factors include age, personal hygiene, and certain settings. Children are more susceptible to certain conditions that can cause a sore throat, including strep throat. Infrequent hand washing could increase your risk of infection. Some settings, such as schools and daycares, can increase the spread of infections that could cause a sore throat.
These are some of the most common causes of throat soreness. Now that you know about these causes, you can take several steps to help prevent them. Some ways you may be able to prevent a sore throat include: cleaning your hands regularly, limiting close contact with others who have respiratory infections, sore throats, and colds if you smoke, considering quitting, and avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke as much as possible. We hope this post helped you learn more about sore throats and their common causes.