Ear, Nose & Throat

Information, Symptoms, Treatments and Resources

Blank

How Do You Get a Sore Throat?

Rating

Risk Factors for Sore Throat

  • 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.
  •  
  • Allergies
  •  
  • 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

See Also:

MedHelp Health Answers