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What Causes a Sore Throat?
Sore throats can be painful and annoying. Fortunately, most sore throats are caused by a minor illness and go away without medical treatment.
Many sore throats are caused by a viral illness.
- The common cold, the most common type of viral infection.
- Infection of the voice box (laryngitis).
- Mononucleosis (mono, "the kissing disease"), a viral infection that tends to cause a persistent sore throat.
- Other viral infections, such as mumps, herpangina, or influenza.
A bacterial infection may also cause a sore throat. This can occur from:
- Strep throat, which usually does not occur with congestion or a cough.
- An inflammation or infection of the tonsils (tonsillitis) and sometimes the adenoids (adenoiditis).
- Inflammation of the epiglottis (epiglottitis).
- Inflammation of the uvula (uvulitis).
- In rare cases, a sexually transmitted disease (STD), such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. If you have engaged in high-risk sexual behavior, consider whether gonorrhea or chlamydia may be present.
- Irritants and injuries
A sore throat that lasts longer than a week is often caused by irritants or an injuries, such as:
- Throat irritation from low humidity, smoking, air pollution, yelling, or nasal drainage down the back of the throat (postnasal drip ).
- Breathing through the mouth when you have allergies or a stuffy nose.
- Stomach acid that backs up into the throat, which may be a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Although GERD often occurs with heartburn, an acid taste in the mouth, or a cough, sometimes a sore throat is the only symptom.
- An injury to the back of the throat, such as a cut or puncture from falling with a pointed object in the mouth.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome, a condition that causes extreme tiredness.
- Treatment for a sore throat depends on the cause. You may be able to use home treatment to obtain relief.
Because viral illnesses are the most common cause of a sore throat, it is important not to use antibiotics to treat them. Antibiotics do not alter the course of viral infections. Unnecessary use of an antibiotic exposes you to the risks of an allergic reaction and antibiotic side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, and yeast infections. Antibiotics also may kill beneficial bacteria and encourage the development of dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Natural Sore Throat Remedies
There are many effective natural alternatives to over-the-counter and prescription medicine that can relieve sore throat symptoms as well as treat the cause. Herbal and homeopathic sore throat remedies are safe, effective and gentle, without the harmful side effects or risk of addiction which accompany prescription and OTC medication. Natural remedies can treat the symptoms of sore throat while also helping to strengthen the immune system and beat the infection.
Examples of homeopathic remedies used to treat sore throats include Gelsemium 6C, which relieves a sore throat and influenza, and also provides a soothing effect. Salvia officinalis is a powerful herb with antibiotic and antiseptic properties that benefits all conditions of the mouth and throat. Other herbs such as Garlic help to fight bacterial infection and promote a strong immune system while Agrimony and Thyme can be taken for their astringent properties on the mucus membranes.
Remember to always ensure your natural remedies are sourced from reputable companies for maximum safety, therapeutic dosage and effectiveness.