Sore Throat – Symptoms and Treatments

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A sore throat causes irritation and pain in your throat. It causes pain when you try to swallow. It makes your throat dry and scratchy.

If there is pain and irritation in the throat without swallowing it, might indicate infections like cold or flu. A sore throat causes discomfort. Sore throat can be caused due to infections, smoking and allergies.

Symptoms of Sore Throat

The symptoms of sore throat are listed below.


When you have a sore throat, it does not mean you have an infection or cold. Sometimes, the quality of the air we breathe becomes poor, which can be the underlying reason for sore throat.

When you have a blocked nose and try to breathe through your mouth, it can cause dryness in your throat, and you may have a sore throat.


A burning sensation in your throat can indicate other gastrointestinal problems like GERD and gastric reflux.

Raw and dry

A dry throat can indicate cold or dehydration. It is also caused when you sleep with your mouth open.

A raw and dry throat can indicate infection, seasonal flu and dry winter air or it can also indicate a common cold.


A tender throat can also indicate, that you might have a cold or allergy.


A sore throat causes irritation and pain typically.

Causes of sore throat

Colds, the flu and other viral infections

When you have a common cold, flu and viral infections, it can cause a sore throat.

Strep throat and other bacterial infections

strep throat

Strep throat is caused by bacteria. Strep throat makes your throat feel irritated, sore and scratchy.

Strep throat is commonly seen in children. However, it can affect anyone.


Allergies can be caused when your immune system is triggered. Allergens like pollen or any chemicals irritate your throat or skin. Your body releases an immune reaction and it can cause sneezing, sore throat and nasal congestion.

Dry air

Dry air makes your throat dry, and it sucks out the moisture from your throat. This can irritate your throat and cause a sore throat.

Smoke, chemicals, and other irritants

Common irritants like smoke and chemicals can irritate your throat and cause sore throat.


When your throat is injured or hit, it can cause pain in your throat. This can lead to irritation and sore throat.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease

When you consume too much acidic food, it can cause a sore throat. Your stomach produces certain acids, which can cause a burning sensation in your throat.


A tumour in your throat can cause a sore throat.

Treatments of sore throat

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids

A sore throat can be avoided by consuming fluids. This will help to avoid dryness and provides moisture to your throat.

Gargle with warm salt water

Gargling with warm salt water kills any minor infectious bacteria in your throat that causes dryness and pain.

Suck on throat lozenges

Throat lozenges can be a temporary relief for cough and dryness. Lozenges are medicine and it dissolves slowly in your throat and soothes your irritated throat.

Take over-the-counter (OTC) medications

There are many over-the-counter drugs available to ease your sore throat. Some of the common medications available are acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen.

However, not all over-the-counter drugs are safe. Always consult your doctor before taking any medication.

Use a humidifier or take a steamy shower

Moist air can be a great relief for sore throat. Sometimes a steamy shower can work for sore throat.

Drink warm liquids such as soups and broth

Soups and broths can work for sore throat. Hot liquid always eases your sore throat and gives a feeling of relief.

Avoid environments where smoke or other pollution could irritate your throat

Smoke and pollution can irritate your throat to a great extent. It is always advisable to stay away from such irritants.

Risk Factors of Sore Throat

Anyone can get affected by a sore throat, and there are no exceptions. However, certain factors increase the risk factors of sore throat.


Anyone can get affected by a sore throat. But children are more susceptible to a sore throat. Bacterial infections can easily affect them as their immune system is not fully grown.

Exposure to Tobacco smoke

Exposure to tobacco smoke can affect your throat. Second-hand smoking can irritate your throat.

Close quarters

Infections like cold and flu can spread quickly from one person to another. Being in contact with an affected person can cause an infection and lead to a sore throat.

Weekend immunity

When you have weakened immunity, any infection can affect your body easily. Health conditions like diabetes, arthritis, HIV and cancer can lower your resistance and cause weakened immunity.

Prevention of Sore Throat

Prevention is always better than cure”. Always be watchful and follow good hygiene to avoid any infection.

Wash your hands

Wash your hands frequently to keep yourself away from any infections. Wash hands thoroughly before eating, after using a public toilet and after coughing or sneezing.

The habit of washing your hands keeps you away from infection and also other people around you.

Avoid touching your face

Do not touch your face unnecessarily. If you have touched an external surface, wash your hands thoroughly before touching your face to avoid getting infected.

Avoid sharing food

Avoid sharing foods, water and utensils. Sharing is caring, but we are living in a pandemic, and sharing may be harmful and can pass your infection.

Cough or sneeze

When you have coughed, use tissue and dispose of the tissue appropriately. Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing to avoid passing the infection to anyone.

Use alcohol-based hand sanitiser

When you cannot wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

Avoid touching public phones

Do not touch any public phones to avoid picking infection.

Regularly clean and disinfect phones

Disinfect the affected surfaces often to kill any bacterial or viral infection.

Avoid close contact with people

Avoid contact with people if anyone is affected by  cold or has symptoms.

When to see a doctor?

If you have had a sore throat for more than three days, consult your doctor immediately. If you have flu, cold or any other infection for a prolonged period, consult your doctor.

Sore throat, cold and coughing can indicate symptoms of major diseases like Covid. So, consult your doctor to avoid passing your infection to your loved ones when you have symptoms for more than three days.


When you have a sore throat, it does not mean that you have an infection. It can be caused due to pollution, allergens and other causes.

If the symptoms do not settle within three days, consult your doctor immediately to avoid can further complications.


How many days does it take to recover from a sore throat?

A sore throat usually lasts for three to five days. It can indicate major health diseases if it lasts more than five days.

Can you treat a sore throat with antibiotics?

 Antibiotics can cure sore throat caused by bacterial infection, but antibiotics cannot cure sore throat caused by a virus.

What does the throat do?

The throat is a passage for food, air and liquid. The throat is a muscular tube that has two partitions. One tube allows food, and the other tube allows air to pass.

What effect does your lifestyle have on your throat?

Eating unhealthy foods, smoking a lot and consuming too much alcohol can affect your health and throat.

How to Cure sore throat?

Drink more water and keep yourself hydrated. Avoid smoking and drinking. Rest well, and do not strain your voice. Gargling with warm salt water can be a relief for sore throat.

What helps with a sore throat?

Hot fluids like hot water, soups and broth can ease the sore throat. Avoid irritants like pollution and smoke, which might aggravate the condition.

How to make a sore throat go away?

Steam and humidifier can work for sore throat. Gargling with salt and warm water reduces pain and irritation. Few medications and lozenges can make you feel better and give temporary relief.


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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