A sore throat, or an irritated throat, is a common symptom that can be caused by many different factors such as a viral or bacterial infection, allergies, exposure to irritants (such as smoke or pollution), or overuse of the voice.
Symptoms of an irritated throat include:
Pain or discomfort when swallowing
Soreness or scratchiness in the throat
Dry or scratchy cough
Redness or swelling in the throat
Hoarseness or loss of voice
Swollen tonsils or lymph nodes
Runny or stuffy nose
Treatment options for an irritated throat include:
Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
Warm liquids, such as water, tea or soup, to help soothe the throat
Salt water gargles to reduce swelling and pain
Throat lozenges or hard candies to help lubricate the throat
Steam therapy, such as breathing in the steam from a hot shower, to help moisten the throat
Avoid irritants such as smoke, pollution, and strong odors
Get plenty of rest and stay hydrated to help your body fight off the infection.
In severe cases, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics for a bacterial infection or steroids to reduce inflammation. If the sore throat is caused by an underlying condition such as GERD or postnasal drip, treating the underlying condition may be necessary to relieve symptoms.
It is always best to consult a doctor if the symptoms persist for more than a week or if they are accompanied by high fever, difficulty breathing, or swallowing.