This article was co-authored by Ritu Thakur, MA. Ritu Thakur is a healthcare consultant in Delhi, India, with over 10 years of experience in Ayurveda, Naturopathy, Yoga, and Holistic Care. She received her Bachelor Degree in Medicine (BAMS) in 2009 from BU University, Bhopal followed by her Master’s in Health Care in 2011 from Apollo Institute of Health Care Management, Hyderabad.
There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
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A sore throat usually starts as a tickle and increases to a severe pain every time you swallow. While you treat your other symptoms of cough and cold with over-the-counter medications, rest, and fluids, you can use these natural and over-the-counter aids to numb your throat. Most sore throats resolve on their own within four or five days, but it is also important to be aware of warning signs that it could be more serious (such as bacterial strep throat) and when it warrants seeing your physician.  X Research source
Ritu Thakur, MA
Natural Health Care Professional Expert Interview. 25 July 2019. Although this has not been proven in any conventional medical trials, it is something that is known to help with sore throats.  X Trustworthy Source Mayo Clinic Educational website from one of the world’s leading hospitals Go to source
- Mix a quarter to half of a teaspoon of salt into a cup of moderately warm water. Swish and swirl this in the back of your mouth near your throat for at least 30 seconds several times a day.
Ritu Thakur, MA
Natural Health Care Professional Expert Interview. 25 July 2019.
A mixture of turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger in hot water.  X Expert Source
Ritu Thakur, MA
Natural Health Care Professional Expert Interview. 25 July 2019.
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Sep 28, 2011
Sore throat is defined as discomfort or a feeling of irritation in the neck that gets worse most times when swallowing. Pain is the main symptom seen in pharyngitis (inflammation of the pharynx or throat). Often, the terms of pharyngitis and sore throat are used interchangeably. Sore throat is often caused by a viral infection, flu or cold. A sore throat triggered by a virus can self-heal with home care, however, if it is triggered by a bacterial infection, the sore throat may require antibiotic treatment. There may be other reasons for neck pain that may require complex care regimens.
Sore Throat Symptoms
Symptoms of a sore throat varies, depending on the cause. These may include:
- Discomfort or feeling of irritation or scratch in the throat
- Pain that worsens during swallowing or speech
- Difficulty when swallowing
- Sensation of dry throat
- Inflamed or painful glands
- Swelling and redness of the tonsils
- White spots or pus present in on the throat and tonsils
- Thick speech
- Pain when eating and eating refusal (especially seen in infants and young children).
Common infections that could be the basis for pain in the neck may have other associated signs and symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Muscle pain
- Nausea and vomiting
Sore Throat Causes
- Infectious mononucleosis
- Larynx cancer
- Cancer of the mouth
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Strep throat
Other causes of sore throat:
- Bacterial infection
- Chemical irritation (tear gas, smoke).
- Chemotherapy drugs
- Dry Air
- Diverse viral infections
Sore Throat Treatment
What treatments can be applied to eliminate the neck pain? Antibiotics for viral infections, proved ineffective are not recommended. Symptoms in this case will begin to disappear when the body triggers its self-defense system, usually 7-10 days will pass until recovery. To relieve sore throat pain and problems that it causes the following are recommended:
- Antipiretic drugs (that fight fever) – acetaminophen – Tylenol, ibuprofen, novocalmin. Children under 12 can not be given aspirin (high chances to develop Reyes syndrome)
- Gargle with warm water and salt (1 / 4 teaspoon of salt dissolved in one cup water).
- Adults and older children can use candy to relieve the burning sensation in the throat (eg Halls).
- High consumption of warm or cold liquids (avoid hot foods and liquids, as they can be able to irritate the throat worse), easily digestible foods and as more fluids.
If the sore throat is caused by a bacterial infection your doctor will prescribe antibiotics – penicillin treatment for 10 days (later research showed that treatment for 5-7 days does not give positive results, there is a risk of complications and unwanted re-infection).
In case of allergy to penicillin erythromycin is prescribed. Although improvement occurs in the first days of antibiotic treatment it is very important to completely finish the treatment in order to prevent rheumatic fever. Approximately 15% of patients relapse and a second course of antibiotics are needed. Strep throat (streptococcal pharyngitis) is contagious and patient should be isolated. Children can return to school if fever was not present in the last 24 hours and had at least 2 days of antibiotic treatment.
If the sore throat is caused by different types of bacteria, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to destroy the bacterial flora. Any antibiotic has to be followed until the end to prevent reinfection and complications. In the case of infectious mononucleosis your doctor will recommend avoiding long and heavy physical activity. Symptoms can last in some cases more than 4 weeks.
16 Best Sore Throat Remedies to Make You Feel Better Fast, According to Doctors
8/1/19 in Blog Posts
16 Best Sore Throat Remedies to Make You Feel Better Fast, According to Doctors
Some home remedies only mask pain—but these solutions can help you get rid of your sore throat completely.
Sore throat symptoms can be rough. Your saliva goes down like sandpaper, every cough makes you wince, and the only thing you can think about is making that lump in the back of your throat go away.
But to ease the pain, you need to understand what’s causing your sore throat in the first place: dry air, smoking, acid reflux, viral infections like the flu or common cold, and bacterial infections like strep can all lead to a sore throat.
In general, a viral infection usually comes with other symptoms, like muscle aches and fatigue, along with your sore throat, says Chester Griffiths MD, an otolaryngologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif. With a bacterial infection, on the other hand, the pain is usually more focused on your throat and the soreness tends to be pretty severe, Dr. Griffiths says. You may also have intense pain when you swallow, along with a high fever.
Exposure to smoke, breathing in dry air, and having acid reflux tends to feel “very different” from an infection, says Jason Abramowitz, MD, an ear, nose, and throat specialist at ENT and Allergy Associates. “Usually patients do not feel as sick overall [and] the pain is also usually not as severe,” he says.
The good news: Sipping warm teaand sucking on cough drops or zinc lozenges can usually soothe the throat irritation and inflammation that are causing your agony, says Brett Comer, MD, a head and neck surgeon at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.
Still, some of your favorite home remedies may just be masking the pain—not actually resolving it. If you really want to get rid of a sore throat, reach for these best OTC cures next time you’re feeling achy.
An ENT doctor Los Angeles residents see because of throat issues will need to examine the throat in some way to make an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment recommendations. Whether you are coming to a throat infection specialist Los Angeles sore throat sufferers like you often visit because of chronic sore throats or infections, chronic throat pain, laryngitis, or some other concern, there are certain examination methods often used.
If there is a need for a more detailed throat examination beyond an initial visual exam of the throat, an instrument called a laryngoscope is often used. It’s what’s used as part of a technique called a laryngoscopy . An ENT doctor in Los Angeles may perform this type of throat exam to learn more about sources of throat discomfort that may include:
- A mass/growth in the throat area
- Persistent coughing
- Chronic throat pain with no clear source
- Recurring or chronic hoarseness
A laryngoscopy may also be done if there is difficulty swallowing. Another reason for using this examination method is to find out if a persistent earache may be related to something in the throat.
Prior to using the laryngoscope, an ENT specialist may recommend other tests, such as a CT scan, chest X-ray, barium swallow test , or general physical exam to rule out or confirm other possible sources of throat pain. As for how a laryngoscopy is done, it can be done directly or indirectly.
A direct laryngoscopy is usually done in a doctor’s office or hospital with sedation, meaning nothing will be felt during the examination. A flexible telescope is inserted into the mouth and nose to access and view the throat. The scope can be used to view the “voice box” or larynx and other throat structures. Samples can also be collected with the scope. If necessary, growths or objects lodged in the throat may be removed via the scope as well.
The indirect method is done with the numbing medication or local anesthetic while sitting in a chair. This type of laryngoscopy involves the use of a mirror to view the throat. If you have this type of throat examination, you may also be asked to make certain sounds to stimulate the larynx, or to simply say “ahh.”
Throat Examinations in Children
A pediatric ENT doctor Los Angeles parents go to see because a child has throat issues may take additional steps. With a throat examination in children , a younger child is often kept on the adult’s lap. While facing forward, a hand is placed on the child’s head to keep it by the chest of the adult holding the child. If there is a need to insert a laryngoscope, this part of the examination is usually saved for last after an initial visual examination is done.
A chronic sore throat specialist Los Angeles patients visit will use results from a thorough examination to put together a personalized treatment plan. In some instances, this may involve medication. Other times, outpatient throat surgery may be recommended. Contact us today to learn more.
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This article was co-authored by Andrea Rudominer, MD, MPH. Dr. Andrea Rudominer is a board certified Pediatrician and Integrative Medicine Doctor based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dr. Rudominer has over 15 years of medical care experience and specializes in preventive health care, obesity, adolescent care, ADHD, and culturally competent care. Dr. Rudominer received her MD from the University of California, Davis, and completed a residency at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University. Dr. Rudominer also has an MPH in Maternal Child Health from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a Member of the American Board of Pediatrics, a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a Member and Delegate of the California Medical Association, and a Member of the Santa Clara County Medical Association.
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Sore throats aren’t usually a sign of serious illness, but knowing that doesn’t make them any easier to bear. The best way to get rid of the scratchy, itchy, or dry feeling in your throat is to drink a steady stream of fluids. Water is most important, but soothing concoctions like honey cayenne tea, garlic broth and chamomile tea have beneficial ingredients that ease the pain and help the soreness fade more quickly. Throat spray and lozenges work well for pain relief, and steam treatments are a good way to treat the irritation and help you relax so you can get a good night’s sleep. Remember to stay away from others to prevent spreading an infection, and see your doctor if your symptoms persist or worsen.
Antibiotics are commonly prescribed for this, but you probably don’t need them. Here’s what to do instead.
A sore throat, though one of the most uncomfortable of minor medical issues, is also one of the most common. In 2015, more than 9 million people visited a doctor’s office for sore throat symptoms, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But do you really need to see a doctor and get medication, notably prescription antibiotics, for a scratchy, irritated, painful throat? Probably not in most cases, say experts, but it happens all the time when people are trying to figure out how to treat a sore throat.
A 2016 study in JAMA, for instance, found that 62 percent of office visits for sore throat end with an antibiotics prescription.
That’s a problem for several reasons, says Jeffrey Linder, M.D., M.P.H., professor of medicine and chief of general internal medicine and geriatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine—whose 2014 study came up with similar numbers.
Most sore throats are caused by viruses, not bacteria, which means antibiotics won’t help. Plus, taking antibiotics unnecessarily is a bad idea. They can have side effects such as itchy rashes or severe diarrhea, and inappropriate use of these drugs contributes to bacterial resistance to antibiotics, which can make those infections hard to cure.
A small percentage of the time, though, these drugs may be warranted. Here’s how to know when to dial the doctor, and the best steps for how to treat a sore throat.
What’s Causing Your Sore Throat?
Viruses are the most common reason for a sore throat. If your sore throat is accompanied by sneezing, a runny nose, a cough, or a low fever (or no fever), a cold or other virus has probably infected your upper respiratory system.
In such cases, there’s no need to rush to the doctor. “You’ll simply have to wait until the virus runs its course, usually in about 7 to 10 days, for most colds,” says Marvin M. Lipman, M.D., Consumer Reports’ chief medical adviser.
Sometimes the virus behind your sore throat is the flu. If so, you are likely to also experience a sudden high fever, a cough, intense muscle aches, and fatigue.
Most people recover from the flu in a week or two with rest and some self-care strategies. But if you think you may have the flu and are at high risk for complications (over 65, under age 5, pregnant, or with an underlying health condition), ask your doctor whether you should consider an antiviral medication.
The Best Ways to Ease Sore Throat Pain
OTC pain meds: Pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol and generic), ibuprofen (Advil and generic), and naproxen (Aleve and generic) can all help ease discomfort.
“Sometimes patients don’t necessarily think of reaching for those when they have a sore throat,” believing they’re only for muscle pain or headache, notes Wendy Stead, M.D., physician in the division of infectious disease at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. But they can be pretty effective pain-relief measures for sore throat, she says.
Be sure to take only the recommended dose, though. Too much acetaminophen, for example, can harm the liver.
Cough drops and OTC throat sprays: Here, it’s a matter of, “Do whatever works for you,” Stead says. Look for throat lozenges and sprays that contain ingredients such as benzocaine, dyclonine, or phenol—which can numb the areas they come in contact with—or menthol, which creates a cooling sensation.
These won’t work for as long as OTC pain pills may, Stead says, although drops may last longer than sprays because they remain in your mouth while you suck on them. It’s generally fine, she notes, to use a lozenge or spray along with an OTC pain pill.
Food, drinks, and more: While the home remedies touted for sore throat aren’t generally supported by much research, it’s fine to use them if they reduce your discomfort, especially if swallowing is painful.
Eating or sucking on cold items, such as ice pops, ice, or frozen yogurt, can help to numb the throat slightly, making swallowing easier. And hot liquids like tea or soup may be easier to swallow for some people than room temperature beverages.
Gargling with salt water may also ease pain for some. And a spoonful of honey or piece of hard candy, which can coat the throat, may temporarily dampen pain (though neither should be given to children under 1 year of age).
Scientists have demonstrated a few strategies that won’t work: A 2017 study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that neither chewing gum containing the sugar substitute xylitol nor a probiotic supplement had any effect on throat pain.
And herbs or dietary supplements for cold symptoms such as a sore throat aren’t very effective, and pose other problems, such as potential side effects. (See our rundown here.)
When to Consider Antibiotics
When might antibiotics for a sore throat be appropriate? Most commonly in the case of a streptococcus—or strep—infection, which is bacterial and causes 5 to 15 percent of sore throats in adults and 15 to 30 percent of sore throats in children.
Other signs include fever, pus or swelling in the back of the throat, and tender lymph nodes in the front of the neck. So if you or your child has a sore throat and one or more of these unpleasant symptoms, especially without a cough, consider calling your doctor to ask whether you should get tested for strep.
If a throat swab detects the presence of strep bacteria, your doctor should prescribe 10 days of penicillin, according to the CDC. The self-care strategies above can help reduce sore throat pain during the day or two it takes for the antibiotics to kick in.
The Sore Throat That Lingers
If you’re still feeling relatively severe pain when you swallow after three to five days, especially if your symptoms aren’t improving, Lipman says, it’s reasonable to call your doctor and ask whether you should come in for an evaluation.
Your doctor should check for signs of other conditions that may also cause a sore throat, such as allergies or gastroesophageal reflux disease. The viruses that cause mononucleosis can also cause throat pain, along with fever, fatigue, and swollen glands.
Certain sexually transmitted infections, including gonorrhea and herpes, may cause a sore throat, too. Some people who are newly infected with HIV may experience flu-like symptoms that can include a sore throat.
Throat pain is rarely an emergency. However, throat swelling can block your airway—signs include difficulty breathing, drooling or pooling saliva, and harsh, noisy breathing—and warrants a trip to the emergency room, according to UpToDate, which provides evidence-based treatment information to healthcare providers.
Certain causes of sore throat, including viral pharyngitis and Strep throat, as well as tonsillitis or laryngitis, might be associated with numbness or tingling in the throat or nose. These conditions may also cause other symptoms. If you are experiencing concerning symptoms that do not go away, contact your doctor to determine the cause.
While the list below can be considered as a guide to educate yourself about these conditions, this is not a substitute for a diagnosis from a health care provider. There are many other medical conditions that also can be associated with your symptoms and signs. Here are a number of those from MedicineNet:
Sore Throat (Pharyngitis)
Sore throat (throat pain) usually is described as pain or discomfort in the throat area. A sore throat may be caused by bacterial infections, viral infections, toxins, irritants, trauma, or injury to the throat area. Common symptoms of a sore throat include a fever, cough, runny nose, hoarseness, earaches, sneezing, and body aches. Home remedies for a sore throat include warm soothing liquids and throat lozenges. OTC remedies for a sore throat include OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Antibiotics may be necessary for some cases of sore throat.
Strep Throat (GAS)
Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the throat. Signs and symptoms of strep throat include headache, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, and fever. Strep throat symptoms in infants and children are different than in adults. Strep throat is contagious and is generally passed from person-to-person. Treatment for strep throat symptoms include home remedies and OTC medication; however, the only cure for strep throat are antibiotics.
Adenoids and Tonsils
Tonsillitis is a contagious infection with symptoms of bad breath, snoring, congestion, headache, hoarseness, laryngitis, and coughing up blood. Tonsillitis can be caused acute infection of the tonsils, and several types of bacteria or viruses (for example, strep throat or mononucleosis). There are two types of tonsillitis, acute and chronic. Acute tonsillitis lasts from one to two weeks while chronic tonsillitis can last from months to years. Treatment of tonsillitis and adenoids include antibiotics, over-the-counter medications, and home remedies to relieve pain and inflammation, for example, salt water gargle, slippery elm throat lozenges, sipping warm beverages and eating frozen foods (ice cream, popsicles), serrapeptase, papain, and andrographism Some people with chronic tonsillitis may need surgery (tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy).
Laryngitis is an inflammation of the voice box (vocal cords). The most common cause of acute laryngitis is infection, which inflames the vocal cords. Symptoms may vary from degree of laryngitis and age of the person (laryngitis in infants and children is more commonly caused by croup). Common symptoms include a “barky” cough, a hoarse cough, fever, cold, runny nose, dry cough, and loss of voice. Chronic laryngitis generally lasts more than three weeks. Causes other than infection include smoking, excess coughing, GERD, and more. Treatment depends on the cause of laryngitis.
At MedicineNet, we believe it is important to take charge of your health through measures such as a living healthy lifestyle, practicing preventative medicine, following a nutrition plan, and getting regular exercise. Understanding your symptoms and signs and educating yourself about health conditions are also a part of living your healthiest life. The links above will provide you with more detailed information on these medical conditions to help you inform yourself about the causes and available treatments for these conditions.
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