Age: Teenagers and children are more likely to catch bacterial infections such as strep throat, increasing their likelihood of suffering from a sore throat.
Tobacco: Smoking, or even inhaling secondhand smoke, not only irritates your throat, but also increases the likelihood of developing throat, mouth or voice box cancer.
Chemical irritants: Common household chemicals or fossil fuels can also cause a sore throat.
Sinus infections: Suffering from frequent sinus infections can cause drainage from your nose to irritate your throat.
Close quarters: Working or living in close proximity to many other people increases the likelihood of the spread of infections that cause sore throats.
Lowered immunity: Diseases such as HIV or diabetes are characterized by a compromised immune system thus increasing the likelihood of contracting a bacterial infection that can cause a sore throat.
Treatments for Sore Throat
Antibiotics: For bacterial infections, including strep, you will need to take antibiotics. Speak with your doctor to get a proper diagnosis and prescription. Remember, it is essential to take the entire dose of antibiotics, even if you start feeling better!
Home Remedies for Sore Throat
Avoid irritants: If allergies or chemicals caused your sore throat, be sure to avoid further irritation by those substances!
Comforting food and drink: Having warm, caffeine-free tea or a cold popsicle can help ease your discomfort.
Drink fluids: Keep your throat from getting dry by drinking lots of fluids, especially water.
Lozenges: For children age 4 and older, taking a lozenge can help you feel better.
Rest: You’ve probably heard it before, but resting (including resting your voice!) is essential to feeling better.
Saltwater gargle: Gargling 1 teaspoon of table salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water can help your throat.
Treat fever and pain: Taking over-the-counter pain medications including ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help decrease your discomfort. While you can take aspirin, aspirin should not be given to children under age 2 or children and teenagers recovering from chickenpox or the flu due to a risk for a rare but serious condition called Reye’s syndrome.
Use an air humidifier: Using a humidifier can help reduce the dryness of your throat by increasing the moisture in the air.
How to Prevent Sore Throat
Wash your hands: Make sure to wash your hands with soap and water before eating to decrease the likelihood of getting sick.
Don’t share foods: It can be quite tempting to share food, particularly if your friend’s food looks delicious, but try to avoid it! Sharing food increases your likelihood of getting a cold or the flu.
Avoid touching public objects: Try not to touch public phones or drinking fountains; wash your hands or use an alcohol-based sanitizing gel after you do.
Clean regularly: Be sure to clean items that are shared a lot: TV remotes, computer keyboards and telephones can carry a lot of germs!
Published: July 29, 2011
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