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A sore throat can feel unpleasant, painful and cause swallowing difficulty sometimes. Most sore throats are caused by an infection, but there are other reasons for why your throat may feel scratchy.
Pain in the throat can be a sign of an infection like the cold or the flu. In most cases, it clears up within a week but if your sore throat is accompanied by fever consider consulting your local health care provider (e.g. pharmacist) for advice.
Are you finding it difficult to swallow? Does it feel like there’s something stuck at the back of your throat? Do you have a hoarse voice and your throat is scratchy?
These are common signs of a sore throat. When you have a throat that hurts, you’ll want to know what caused it. That way, you can effectively treat it.
What are the top three symptoms of a sore throat?
The signs and symptoms of a sore throat vary depending on what’s causing the condition. But the top signs that your throat is sore usually include:
1. A scratchy feeling at the back of your throat
2. Pain in the throat or at the back of the mouth
3. Finding it difficult to swallow
Sometimes an itch at the back of your throat goes away when you sip some water. Other times it can linger and cause more severe pain. Watch out for these three signs of sore throat.
What are sore throat symptoms?
A sore and painful throat will usually feel inflamed and irritable. Sore throats often accompany the common cold or the flu, but they can be signs of a more serious infection like strep throat.
Most people notice that their throat is sore when it’s painful to swallow or they feel like something is stuck at the back of their throat and scratching against the lining of the throat.
Common signs of a sore throat include:
Although most sore throats go away with home treatment within one week and are manageable with pain medication like paracetamol (Panadol), you should visit a doctor if your sore throat persists. Seek medical help if you notice:
What causes a sore throat?
There are many different causes for a sore throat - from colds to a bacterial or viral infection. To decide on the best sore throat treatment, it’s important to understand the underlying causes for what’s causing you pain.
Sore throats are incredibly common and may affect people multiple times a year.
In the majority of cases, a throat infection is caused by viruses or bacteria.
But what’s the difference between viral infection and bacteria?
Viral infections that can cause painful swallowing include colds, the flu, measles, Covid-19, and chickenpox.
Bacteria can cause strep throat.
Besides a painful throat, other symptoms of a strep infection include:
If you suspect strep throat, it’s best to go see a doctor. They can perform a throat swab to determine if bacteria are present. Where strep is caused by bacterial infection, you may need to take antibiotics to help treat the infection.
Other causes for a sore throat are:
How to treat a sore throat?
The right sore throat treatment depends on the underlying causes. In most cases, home remedies like sipping warm, soothing drinks work well. To reduce inflammation and the pain, you can take an over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen or paracetamol. In many cases, a sore throat can be treated using home remedies. The following tend to relieve the pain:
A sore throat can make you feel rotten and sometimes home treatments aren’t enough. When your throat is painful, you can try a pain medicine like Panadol for sore throat. The medicine in Panadol has been shown to provide effective relief from the pain of a sore throat.
Measures for other causes of sore throat include:
|Allergies||Over-the-counter allergy medication (pills, syrup or nose spray).|
|Smoking||Stopping smoking has a wide range of health benefits. You can try nicotine gums and patches to help wean yourself off cigarettes.|
|Air pollution / Chemicals||Wear protective masks and gloves to avoid inhalation of toxic or harmful gases.|
|Dry air||Get a humidifier and sip fluids more frequently throughout the day.|
|Injury||If it’s a small cut, disinfect the wound by gargling with water and salt. In cases of injury or trauma to the throat, see a doctor.|
|Acid reflux||Antacids, alginates or proton pump inhibitors are available as over-the-counter tablets or on prescription if you have acid reflux.|