You can often nip an early sore throat or emerging sore throat in the bud. Sore throats are complaints of pain in the throat. Sore throat is a common complaint that is often caused by an upper respiratory infection, which also involves the throat. In the majority of cases, a sore throat is caused by an infection with a cold virus. A sore throat can present itself as a mild burning sensation or (severe) pain in the throat or the feeling of pins and needles when you swallow. Some advice is discussed below to combat emerging or emerging sore throats.
Beginning sore throat: what to do?
- What is a sore throat?
- What causes a sore throat?
- Common causes
- Other causes of sore throat
- What are the symptoms of a sore throat?
- What to do about a sore throat?
- It will pass on its own
- Tips to soothe an early sore throat
- Consult your GP
What is a sore throat?
Sore throats are complaints of pain in the throat. Sore throat is a common complaint that is often caused by an upper respiratory infection (such as a cold), which also involves the throat. A sore throat is usually an inflammation of the throat mucosa. The pain can also travel to the neck and ears. It is not very common that only the throat is affected. In that case, it is called laryngitis, also called tonsillitis or pharyngitis.
What causes a sore throat?
In the majority of cases, a sore throat is caused by an infection with a cold virus, of which there are several types. Well-known examples are the rhino or adenovirus. The culprit settles in the mucous membrane of the nose and throat, where it causes inflammation. Infection with a cold virus occurs through coughing, sneezing or physical contact. Infection does not occur in all cases, this partly depends on the resistance of the host. Bacteria can also cause a sore throat. It is often a streptococcus.
Other causes of sore throat
Sore throat can also be caused by incorrect or excessive vocal use (a lot of talking, singing or shouting), injury (frequent clearing of the throat), allergy and dry or polluted air (cigarette smoke).
What are the symptoms of a sore throat?
A sore throat can present itself as a mild burning sensation or (severe) pain in the throat. Sometimes a sore throat is accompanied by swallowing problems, often due to swelling of the mucous membrane in the throat. Colds or fever may also come to the fore. Furthermore, the glands in the neck may be swollen and sensitive. Other possible symptoms include red, swollen mucous membranes and tonsils, possibly with white dots or thick mucus.
What to do about a sore throat?
It will pass on its own
Sore throat is a self-limiting disease, which means that the throat complaints normally resolve spontaneously regardless of the cause. Below are some tips to soothe (incipient) sore throat.
Tips to soothe an early sore throat
- Drinking cold water or having an ice cream.
- Drinking chamomile tea. Chamomile has a soothing effect on the throat and also has a mild disinfectant effect.
Tea with fresh ginger / Source: Istock.com/ChamilleWhite
- Ginger tea can also help. Take 3 teaspoons of grated ginger root, half a liter of water, 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of honey (honey has antibacterial properties). Simmer the water with the ginger in a covered pan for 10 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat, pass it through a sieve and add lemon juice and honey when the tea has reached a temperature suitable for drinking. Do not put the honey in boiling water as this will destroy its healing properties.
- Sucking on a licorice drop or a chlorhexidine lozenge for sore throat. Chlorhexidine has a disinfectant effect. Sucking on a tablet or licorice softens the throat.
- Get plenty of rest (especially if you have a fever).
- ‘Voice rest’ can provide relief from the complaints.
- Try to avoid throat irritation.
- Avoid cigarette smoke.
- Gargle with salt water. Gargle with one level teaspoon of table salt in a glass of lukewarm water at least once an hour. The commercially available gargles are often no better than this ordinary table salt solution.
- Use a humidifier in the bedroom.
- Paracetamol can be used against pain, possibly in combination with caffeine, which enhances the analgesic effect and has a stimulating effect.
General practitioner examines the throat / Source: BravissimoS/Shutterstock.com
- Early sore throat can also be combated with a zinc chloride-alum gargle FNA (available at a pharmacy or drugstore). This soothes the sore throat. The active ingredients in Zinc Chloride-Alum Gargle are zinc chloride and aluminum potassium sulphate (also called ‘alum’), which have a mild astringent effect, causing the swollen mucous membranes in the throat to shrink. This gargle is also called Gargarisma Kan or Zinc chloride-potassium-aluminum sulphate gargle.
Consult your GP
Consult your doctor if the sore throat lasts longer than five days or if the complaints worsen significantly, for example if you have (increasing) swallowing problems.
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