Sore throat is a painful, dry, or scratchy feeling in the throat.
Sore throats are divided into types, based on the part of the throat they affect:
- Pharyngitis affects the area right behind the mouth.
- 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.
Out of all the cases of a throat, around 90 – 95 % of arise from a viral infection. The primary viral infections that lead to a sore throat are influenza (flu), common cold, measles, chicken pox, mumps, and mononucleosis
Bacterial infections linked with a sore throat are more serious than viral infections. The most important is an infection with group A streptococcus bacteria that can lead to a strep throat.
A person who has allergies is usually at an increased risk to develop a sore throat. The common allergens include dust, pollen, grass, molds, pet dander (mainly from dogs and cats). PND or post nasal dripping of mucus is the main cause of a sore throat that develops due to allergies. Mucus dripping from posterior nares in the throat tend to cause scratching, tickling, and irritation in the throat.
Dry air tends to decrease the moisture levels of the throat, leading to dryness, roughness, and scratchiness in the throat. Mouth breathing also tends to dry the throat that leads to scratchiness and sore throat.
Smoke, chemicals, and other irritants
Many different chemicals and other substances in the environment irritate the throat, including:
- cigarette and other tobacco smoke
- air pollution
- cleaning products and other chemicals
Any injury, such as a hit or cut to the neck, can cause pain in the throat. Getting a piece of food stuck in your throat can also irritate it.
Repeated use strains the vocal cords and muscles in the throat. You can get a sore throat after yelling, talking loudly, or singing for a long period of time.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus — the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. The acid burns the esophagus and throat, causing symptoms like heartburn and acid reflux-the regurgitation of acid into your throat.
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.
Sign and symptoms
The signs and symptoms of a sore throat are as follows:
- Pain in the throat that becomes worse on swallowing food, drinks or saliva
- Itching, irritation and scratchy feeling in throat
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Redness, swelling of the throat and tonsils along with pain
- White patches, pus or ulcers on the tonsils
- Hoarseness of voice
- Dryness in throat
- Burning sensation in the throat
- Nasal symptoms (like a runny nose, blocked nose, and sneezing)
- Enlargement of lymph nodes in the neck that can be felt
Some general symptoms that accompany a sore throat are fever (with or without chills), weakness, headache and body aches.
Although anyone can get a sore throat, some factors make you more susceptible, including:
Age: Children and teens are most likely to develop sore throats. Children ages 3 to 15 are also more likely to have strep throat, the most common bacterial infection associated with a sore throat.
Exposure to tobacco smoke: Smoking and second hand smoke can irritate the throat. The use of tobacco products also increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, throat and voice box.
Allergies: Seasonal allergies or ongoing allergic reactions to dust, molds or pet dander make developing a sore throat more likely.
Exposure to chemical irritants: Particles in the air from burning fossil fuels and common household chemicals can cause throat irritation.
Chronic or frequent sinus infections: Drainage from the nose can irritate the throat or spread infection.
Close quarters: Viral and bacterial infections spread easily anywhere people gather, whether in child care centers, classrooms, offices or airplanes.
Weakened immunity: more susceptible to infections in general if your resistance is low. Common causes of lowered immunity include HIV, diabetes, treatment with steroids or chemotherapy drugs, stress, fatigue, and poor diet.
- The doctor will start with a physical exam that will include:
- Using a lighted instrument to look at the throat, and likely the ears and nasal passages
- Gently feeling (palpating) the neck to check for swollen glands (lymph nodes)
- Listening to a person’s breathing with a stethoscope
- Throat swab
Homeopathic medicine for a sore throat can help clear up an infection for long-term relief. These medicines also work well to treat recurrent sore throats by boosting the body’s immune system to fight the cause or infection and bring about natural recovery.
Homeopathic medicines for pharyngitis and tonsillitis help bring relief from the acute symptoms of a sore throat and also treat the tendency of recurrence. People of all ages can use these medicines safely since they do not have any toxic side effects.
Aconite is an excellent homeopathic medicine for an acute sore throat. It works well when the itching in the throat begins. The throat and parts like the fauces, tonsils, uvula, and palate get severely inflamed. A burning, prickling and stinging sensation may also be present. Dryness in the throat, difficulty swallowing and high fever are other symptoms.
Belladonna is a top homeopathic medicine for a sore throat attended with intense pain, a red, shiny and swollen throat, enlarged and swollen tonsils, a constriction and lump felt in the throat, dryness and scraping sensation, extreme thirst and high fever.
Natrum Mur is a well indicated homeopathic medicine for a sore throat with cold and flu. Natrum Mur is helpful when there is soreness and pain in the throat with a watery discharge from the nose and violent sneezing. In some cases, soreness in the nose is also present. Apart from this, dryness in throat, a sensation of a lump or splinter in the throat may be present.
Merc Sol is a homeopathic medicine for throat accompanied by painful swallowing. During swallowing, shooting pains are felt in throat, ear, and tonsils. Production of phlegm, smarting sensation and heat are also felt in the throat. Along with these symptoms, profuse salivation and night aggravation of the symptoms may be present.
Arsenic Album is a homeopathic remedy for sore throat that develops after consuming cold food or cold drinks. The symptoms that indicate the need for this medicine include pain, swelling, and constriction in the throat. Warm beverages relieve the pain in the throat, and there may be a sensation of having a hair lodged in the throat. There may be a runny nose, with a thin, watery, burning nasal discharge with itching in the nostrils. Nasal discharges may alternate with nasal blockage, and the symptoms tend to get worse in the open air and get better indoors. Arsenic Album is a useful homeopathic remedy for sore throat and runny nose.
Hepar Sulph is a homeopathic medicine for throat that becomes sore after the person gets exposed to the cold. A pain in the throat from exposure to cold that worsens upon speaking and swallowing, the presence of a plug-like sensation in the throat, sensation of a splinter in the throat, hawking of yellow mucus, roughness and swelling of glands in the neck and fever (with chills) are the symptoms that indicate this medicine.
Merc Iod Flavus
Merc Iod Flavus is a homeopathic medicine for sore throat that develops on the right side. The right side of throat (along with tonsils) gets swollen and inflamed. Tenacious mucus in throat and constant inclination to swallow, foul breath, and relief upon taking cold drinks are the symptoms that indicate the need for Merc lod Flavus.
Merc Iod Ruber
Merc lod Ruber is a homeopathic medicine for sore throat that develops on the left side. There is redness, pain, and swelling in the left side of throat (including the tonsil), and swallowing liquids and solids is painful. White phlegm may be hawked out.
Homeopathic medicine Bryonia for a sore throat works well when a cough is present, along with dryness and rawness of throat. Sharp pain in the throat that gets worse upon swallowing, scraping sensation and constriction, dry, hard, hacking cough that gets worse at night are the primary features that indicate the need for Bryonia.
Phytolacca Decandra is a homeopathic medicine for the throat when pain from throat radiates to the ear. The pain is worse while swallowing, and it is difficult to even swallow water. Main symptoms that indicate the need for this medicine are a burning sensation in the throat, a disposition to clear the throat and hawk, and a slimy white coating on the tongue. The throat may appear dark red/bluish red and the tonsils are also large, blue and congested.
Phosphorus is a homeopathic medicine for a sore throat accompanied with hoarseness of voice. The voice gets rough and husky, especially in the evening. There may be a pain in the throat that gets worse from talking, a scraping sensation in the throat, and cough with tickling sensation are the primary symptoms. The cough is dry, harsh and racking and gets worse from talking or laughing.
Argentum Met is a homeopathic medicine for a sore throat that appears as a result of overuse of voice. The throat feels raw, sore and the voice becomes hoarse, with alternation in the timbre of the voice. Phlegm that is viscid, and jelly-like or grey may also be present.
Kali Bichromicum is a homeopathic medicine for a sore throat with PND (post nasal drip). The mucus is tough and stringy and is hawked out in the morning. A thread-like mucus draws out of the throat. The throat is red and inflamed, and the uvula gets swollen. The voice turns hoarse, ulcers may appear on the tonsils, and constant retching and cough may appear. In some cases, the Eustachian tube may get blocked that leads to difficulty in hearing.
Difficulty in swallowing fluids when you have a sore throat is best treated with Lachesis. Chronic tonsillitis is also treated with Lachesis.
It is indicated when there is a sensation of lump in the throat and you cannot gulp food easily, Ignatia can work well.
Streptococcinum is a homeopathic medicine for a sore throat in cases where a strep throat has developed. In case of strep throat, antibiotics are needed to avoid any further complications. Homeopathic medicine Streptococcinum can be used along with antibiotics. This medicine helps in symptomatic relief and speeds up the recovery process. The symptoms indicating the need for this medicine are redness, swelling, and constant pain in the throat and tonsils. Pus points on the tonsils, enlarged nodes in the neck, frailty, and weakness are other symptoms.